OFT puts off decision on Travis Perkins

Marion Dakers
BUILDING merchant Travis Perkins said yesterday its £558m purchase of BSS Group has been delayed after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said it needed more time to examine the deal.

Travis Perkins, which also runs the Wickes DIY chain, told the stock market the OFT had extended the decision date on whether to approve the deal to 19 October.

The company’s original timetable for completing the deal will now not be met and it said will update the market in due course. It had planned to complete the acquisition on 22 October.

Travis Perkins said in May it was interested in buying BSS, and agreed a 435.8p a share deal in July.

The deal would create the biggest plumbing and heating trade and retail distribution business, with 19,000 employees and a combined turnover of more than £4bn. The group would overtake Wolseley, the current market leader that yesterday said it was moving its base to Switzerland.

The enlarged group would represent around a quarter of the sector, prompting the OFT to open a consultation shortly after the deal was agreed in July.

Travis Perkins has said the deal will deliver £25m in savings by 2013, and become profit-making the following year.

Shares in Travis Perkins fell 1.6 per cent to 840p yesterday, while BSS closed down one per cent at 450p.