Wolseley investors recognise boost from foreign exchange as shares edge up slightly

Oliver Gill
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Wolseley operates the Plumb Centre in the UK – one of the country's largest suppliers to the plumbing sector (Source: Getty)
uilding materials supplier Wolseley's revenues were given a £600m first quarter foreign exchange boost as it posted a 21 per cent increase in trading profit.

Shares in the UK-based firm nosed up around one per cent in trading, reflecting the fact like-for-like sales were up a more modest 1.8 per cent. US operations grew by 4.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis, compensating for a contraction of 2.9 per cent across non-US territories.

6 December 2016 @ 3:15pmWolseley (WOS)

Read more: Wolseley to cut 800 jobs and shut 80 branches across the UK

Chief exec John Martin pointed out the specific softness in the market:

Our other markets were more challenging as the UK heating market was weak and Nordic construction markets deteriorated.

While revenue growth trends have improved slightly we continue to manage costs and productivity very carefully while continuing to drive customer service and strong cash conversion.

Wolseley completed four purchases during the first three months of its financial year for a total of £216m.

With British roots stretching back to the 19th Century, the owner of the Plumb Centre is in the process of cutting back in the UK. In September it announced 800 job losses and 80 branches closures as part of a £100m restructuring.

Read more: Wolseley shares are tanking

US operations are represented by its Ferguson brand, which the group purchased in 1982. In the latest quarter, US revenues totalled £2.9bn, more than double what the rest of the group managed to generate.

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