Grafton Group plc, the builders’ merchanting and DIY Group with operations in the UK, Ireland and Belgium, has enjoyed a strong 2014 - posting a 56% increase in its pre-tax profits - growing to £101.2m for the year.

Revenues increased by 9.6% to £2.1bn and operating profit was up by 43% to £110m.

A statement from the company said that its expansion has been driven by "Strong UK merchanting performance driven by growth in the housing repair, maintenance and improvement and new-build markets."

It also said that it saw "significant profit growth in Irish merchanting business as market recovery accelerated", while the DIY market in Ireland remained "stable."

There have been five bolt-on acquisitions completed during the year too – three in the UK and two in Belgium.

Gavin Slark, chief executive officer of Grafton Group, welcomed the results. He said: "2014 was a year of significant progress for Grafton which recorded its fifth successive year of strong profit growth and met the Board’s ‘first base’ financial targets of an operating profit margin exceeding 5% and a double digit return on capital employed."

He continued: "Given that 2014 was also the first full year of recovery in its major businesses, the overall outlook for the Group is positive."