Wolseley share price rises after sales figures are boosted by foreign currency tailwinds

 
Oliver Gill
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Wolseley will formally change its name to Ferguson from 31 July (Source: Getty)

Building materials giant Wolseley posted its last trading update under its current livery as it prepares to an end a 130-year association with the name of its founder.

Third quarter revenues were boosted by considerable foreign currency tailwinds. But shares were broadly flat in trading, nosing up 0.25 per cent by lunchtime.

Read more: Wolseley shares restrained despite gushing first quarter

The figures

Revenue jumped by 16.7 per cent to £4.3bn, although this was a 4.6 per cent rise at constant exchange rates and a 6.6 per cent increase on a like-for-like basis.

Trading profit was 9.5 per cent higher at £254m despite there being two less working days compared to the prior year.

Gross margin, the percentage profit made on each sale, was up by 0.1 per cent at 28.5 per cent.

Why it's interesting

Wolseley has slowly pivoted operations away from the UK, despite starting out as a firm selling sheep shearing equipment in the nineteenth century.

Shareholders have given the thumbs up to the group rebranding as Ferguson, the name of Wolseley's large US subsidiary. Its operations in the US generate £3bn of the group's revenue and £227m of its £254m of profit. The group will formally change its name to Ferguson plc from 31 July.

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

In September, Wolseley announced a £100m UK "transformation strategy". This included cutting 800 jobs and closing 80 branches.

In the group's third quarter figures the UK was the only of its four geographic locations to witness shrinking like-for-like revenues

What the company said

Chief executive John Martin said:

Revenue growth in the quarter was good with US residential and commercial markets growing well and industrial markets improving. The Nordics returned to growth and the UK was broadly flat.

Since the end of the period revenue growth has been broadly in line with the third quarter, gross margins and cost control have been good. The group expects trading profit for the full year to be in line with current analyst consensus expectations.

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