Final Results

15 May 2024

Growth strategy continuing to progress despite challenging markets
Unchanged dividend reflecting medium term confidence

Lords (AIM:LORD), a leading distributor of building materials in the UK, today announces its annual results for the year ended 31 December 2023 (‘FY23’ or the ‘year’).


To view a full version of the results in 
PDF format  click here


 FY23 FY22 (%)
Revenue £462.6m £450.0m +2.8%
Revenue – Merchanting £214.9m £220.8m -2.6%
Revenue – Plumbing & Heating £247.7m £229.3m +8.0%
Adjusted EBITDA(1) £26.8m £30.0m -10.5%
Adjusted EBITDA margin 5.8% 6.7% -0.9%
EBITDA £23.5m £28.6m -18.1%
Profit before tax £3.0m £12.8m -76.8%
Adjusted Profit before tax(2) £10.4m £17.4m -40.7%
Basic earnings per share 0.84p5.68p -85.2%
Adjusted basic earnings per share(3) 4.35p 8.02p -45.8%
Dividend per share 2.0p 2.0p +0.0%
Free cash flow(4) £13.9m £19.1m -27.5%
Cash flow conversion(5) 59.2% 66.9% -7.7%
Net (debt)/cash(6) £(28.5)m £(19.4)m  


* Based on underlying, not rounded, figures.


FY23 Financial Highlights                                                            

  • Performance in line with market expectations for FY23 and FY24. Non-discretionary nature of a significant proportion of Lords’ product range, alongside the Group’s differentiated growth strategy, delivered this performance despite material market headwinds across the sector
  • Record Group revenue in the year, reaching £462.6 million, up 2.8% on FY22
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of £26.8 million (FY22: £30.0 million), down 10.5% and representing a margin of 5.8% (FY22: 6.7%) with a greater proportion of Group revenues generated by the Group’s Plumbing & Heating division (‘P&H’) in FY23
  • Adjusted basic earnings per share(3) down 45.8% to 4.35 pence (FY22: 8.02 pence)
  • Strong cash flow generated of £22.8 million (FY22: £26.8 million), contributing to free cash flow(4) generation of £13.9 million (FY22: £19.1 million)
  • Net debt(6) at 31 December 2023 of £28.5 million (31 December 2022: £19.4 million), with continued focus on providing a robust balance sheet
  • Total dividend for the year of 2.0 pence per share, unchanged from FY22 (FY22: 2.0 pence per share) demonstrating the Board’s confidence in the Group’s ability to deliver long term value for shareholders.

Operational Highlights

  • P&H division revenues increased 8.0% to £247.7 million (FY22: £229.3 million), 3.7% higher on a like-for-like(7) basis (‘LFL’), benefitting from extended product ranges at higher margins such as renewables
  • Merchanting division revenues decreased 2.6% to £214.9 million (FY22: £220.8 million), with LFL decrease of 6.3% reflecting price deflation in some product categories
  • Lords’ customer first proposition continuing to benefit the Group, giving superior customer insight and agility in specific product and brand sales strategies
  • Organic growth levers continue to drive value creation:
    • Brand roll outs accessing new markets and customers; Mr Central Heating opened a new site in Edinburgh and will seek to establish a 50 branch network in the medium term
    • Product range continuing to expand with new renewables energy range increasing its revenues by 60% in FY23
  • Successful completion of two acquisitions in the Merchanting division – Chiltern Timber Supplies and Alloway Timber – adding six branches to the Group’s network and 93 new colleagues
  • ESG momentum continues, including the launch of a new environmental policy alongside setting scope 1,2,3 emission reduction targets
  • Post year-end announced the appointment of Stuart Kilpatrick as CFO, a highly experienced finance executive with a track record in public company M&A. Stuart will be joining the Board on 4 June 2024.

Current Trading and Outlook

  • FY24 has begun with wider market conditions remaining uncertain and as such we will continue to manage the business carefully and prudently, particularly when looking at M&A opportunities
  • In line with the wider market, trading in Q1 FY24 was impacted by a combination of macro conditions and wet weather. Furthermore, demand in the P&H division was turbulent following the timing adjustment to the Government’s Clean Heat Market Mechanism (‘CHMM’)
  • Despite the uncertain market conditions, Lords is trading in line with market expectations and the Board remains confident in achieving the Group’s medium-term EBTIDA margin target of 7.5%.


(1)         Adjusted EBITDA is EBITDA (defined as earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and impairment charges) but also excluding exceptional items, and share-based payments.

(2)         Adjusted profit before tax is profit before tax before exceptional items, share based payments amortisation of intangible assets and impairment charges.

(3)         Adjusted basic earnings per share is earnings attributable to shareholders of Lords Group Trading plc adjusted for exceptional items, share based payments, amortisation of intangible assets and impairment charges, divided by the weighted average number of shares in issue in the year

(4)         Free cash flow defined as cash generated by operating activities plus exceptional items less capital expenditure, taxation and interest paid

(5)         Free cash flow conversion is free cash flow as a percentage of EBITDA.

(6)         Net debt is defined as gross borrowings less cash and cash equivalents.

(7)         Like-for-like sales is a measure of growth in sales, adjusted for new, divested and acquired locations such that the periods over which the sales are being compared are consistent


Commenting on the results, Shanker Patel, Chief Executive Officer of Lords, commented:

“FY23 has demonstrated that we have successfully built a sustainable growth business.  Despite the challenging macroeconomic backdrop, the Group has once again grown its top line and gained market share, while continuing to invest to deliver future growth.  I would like to thank our colleagues across the UK, who without their fantastic commitment and support for our strategy, these results would not have been achieved.

“Whilst short term trading pressures may exist, I remain confident in our strategy and its ability to deliver sustained growth over the medium term.  Our market remains substantial, highly fragmented and we have a track record of consolidation and organic growth which combined deliver excellent returns for all of our stakeholders.”


Analyst Briefing

There will be an in person meeting for analysts at 09.00hrs today at Buchanan’s offices, which will be hosted by Gary O’Brien (Non-Executive Chairman), Shanker Patel (CEO) and Chris Day (CFO and COO).



Lords Group Trading plc Via Buchanan
Gary O'Brien, Non-Executive Chairman
Shanker Patel, Chief Executive Officer
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
Chris Day, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer  
Cavendish Capital Markets Limited
Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker
Tel: +44 (0)20 7220 0500
Ben Jeynes / Dan Hodkinson (Corporate Finance)  
Julian Morse / Henry Nicol / Charlie Combe (Sales and ECM)  
Joint Broker
Matthew Armitt / Richard Bootle / Detlir Elezi
Tel: +44 (0)20 3207 7800
Buchanan Communications Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
Henry Harrison-Topham / Stephanie Whitmore / Abby Gilchrist [email protected]


Notes to editors:

Lords is a specialist distributor of building, plumbing, heating and DIY goods. The Group principally sells to local tradesmen, small to medium sized plumbing and heating merchants, construction companies and retails directly to the general public.  The Group operates through the following two divisions:

  • Merchanting: supplies building materials and DIY goods through its network of merchant businesses and online platform capabilities. It operates both in the ‘light side’ (building materials and timber) and ‘heavy side’ (civils and landscaping), through 31 locations in the UK.

  • Plumbing and Heating: a specialist distributor in the UK of plumbing and heating products to a UK network of independent merchants, installers and the general public. The division offers its customers an attractive proposition through a multi-channel offering.  The division operates over 17 locations enabling nationwide next day delivery service.

Lords was established over 35 years ago as a family business with its first retail unit in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.  Since then, the Group has grown to a business operating from 48 sites.  Lords was admitted to trading on AIM in July 2021 with the ticker LORD.L. For additional information please visit