Wolseley says it will restart its dividend

City A.M. Reporter
Wolseley, the world’s largest plumbing and building merchant, yesterday showed it was confident of growing in patchy construction markets by reinstating its payout to shareholders.

The company said although markets have broadly stabilised it faced fragile economies in several regions and pressure from competitors to cut prices.

“The group expects to continue to grow in the second-half of the year, though the comparatives will now be much more demanding,” chief executive Ian Meakins said.

Wolseley said it would pay an interim dividend of 15p per share, which it expected to be one-third of the total for the year, having not made a payout the year before.

Meakins said in Britain, VAT increases and government spending cuts left the outlook more uncertain and it expected a slowdown in the coming months. Public sector spending represents about 25 per cent of its UK revenue.

Wolseley posted a five per cent increase in like-for-like revenue to £6.6bn in its financial first-half.

Trading profit which strips out exceptional items, amortisation and impairments, rose to £275m versus £167m in 2010.

The company, which has redomiciled to Switzerland to lower its tax rate, said five of its businesses were for sale.

Its shares closed up 3.1 per cent yesterday at 2,154p.


ADVISING Mouchel on the possible sale of “non-core” parts of the business are boutique investment banking outfit Hawkpoint Partners and RBS.

Hawkpoint advises corporates, financial institutions, private equity houses and governments throughout Europe. The company employs 100 staff in London, Paris and Frankfurt.

This year it has acted as the lead adviser for Moss Bros on its “transformational” £16.5m deal to sell 15 Hugo Boss franchised stores to the German fashion company.

Last year it advised utilities services company Spice as it played hard-to-get with buyer Cinven. Vice chairman Christopher Kemball and managing director Chris Robinson eventually achieved a price of £251m for the firm.

It also advised Rugby Estates in its sale of its 8.5 per cent holding in Rugby Estates Investment Trust to ING UK Real Estate Income Trust.