Wolseley, the world’s largest plumbing supplies group, has said strong trading in the UK and US lifted its profit - though it saw more challenging conditions in Continental Europe.
Profit before tax came in at £316m in the half year ended in January - up 63.7 per cent on a year earlier. Trading profit rose 8.8 per cent to £360m. However, when it came to challenges in the rest of Europe, Wolseley said:
We continued to face headwinds in Continental Europe requiring strong action on gross margins and costs to protect profitability.
It also highlighted the effect of a strong pound on its results:
Foreign exchange movements reduced trading profit by £1m in the period, and at February 2014 exchange rates2013 trading profit would have been £29m lower in the second half.
The firm’s lifted its dividend by 25 per cent to 27.5p per share.
Shares are up almost two per cent this morning.