Wolseley hands out £350m divi

Kasmira Jefford
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WOLSELEY yesterday announced it will reward shareholders with a £350m special dividend after a strong performance in the US and Canada helped the plumbing and builders’ merchant post a 10 per cent rise in full-year profit.

The group, which owns the Plumb Centre and Ferguson chains in the UK, said it has generated £317m over the year to 31 July from selling businesses including Bathstore and will use the proceeds to fund the dividend.

Ian Meakins, chief executive, said the pay-out “reflects the company’s strong financial position”. It has also hiked its full-year dividend by 33 per cent to 60p.

Wolseley’s trading profit increased to £658m, up from £596m last year.

Group sales rose 5.4 per cent to around £12.7bn, after eight per cent like-for-like growth in its core US market helped offset market woes in continental Europe, including France where it is considering shutting its business. UK sales fell one per cent.