While 2015 was a challenging year for the Group, we made good progress on the Strategic Initiatives and our infill acquisition programme.
Going forward we are determined to get performance back on track by refocusing on sales, reducing our cost base and growing our value added businesses.
Our goal is to be the leading specialist solutions provider to the construction industry. To achieve this we are focused on three key strategic priorities.
First, we are seeking to continuously improve our procurement function. The Group has made excellent progress over the last two years, but there is much more to do. This initiative is also gathering additional impetus through the appointment of our new Group Procurement Director, Ruxandra Ispas, who is providing fresh thinking.
Second, we are reshaping our supply chain by adopting a two-step change strategy, with an ultimate goal of reducing our cost to serve by £50m.
Finally, we are continuing to grow our value added sales, which currently account for 18% of sales. Offsite Construction and Air Handling will be important growth drivers of this category.
Governance and Board
As Chairman I am responsible for ensuring good corporate governance and that we continually aspire to meet the highest standards possible at SIG. Further details can be found in the Corporate Governance Report.
Following the appointment of Andrea Abt as a Non-Executive Director on 12 March 2015, I am pleased to report that we achieved our aim to reach 25% female representation among the Board's membership.
As part of the Board succession plan, the Nominations Committee has reviewed the positions of Chris Geoghegan and Jonathan Nicholls.
Having noted their significant experience and contributions to the Board, the Committee concluded that they be invited to serve for a further term of office until the May 2017 AGM, prior to which a search for new Non-Executive Directors will take place.
On behalf of the Board and Shareholders I would like to thank our employees for their dedication and continued hard work during the year.
I would also like to welcome Christian Horn to SIG as its new Group Operations Director, a role which sits on the Group's Executive Committee. Christian joined SIG in December 2015 and was previously Senior Vice President for Staples Europe.
The Board has proposed a final dividend of 2.91p per ordinary share. Taken together with the interim dividend of 1.69p per ordinary share, this provides a total dividend of 4.60p per ordinary share for the year (2014: 4.40p), an increase of 4.5%.
Going forward the Board remains committed to a progressive dividend policy while maintaining a dividend cover of 2-3x on an underlying basis over the medium-term.
Leslie Van de Walle