Wolseley to slash more jobs
Wolseley, the heating and plumbing supplier, plans to cut hundreds of jobs due to the downturn in its core American and European markets.
The move is yet further evidence of the looming recession facing the UK economy in general and housing related industries in particular.
The firm, which employs around 14,000 people in Britain, already axed around 9,000 workers in America and Canada earlier this year – and is expected to announce more in its eleven-month trading update on Wednesday. The group already warned in May that the housing slump would force it to cut £320m of costs by July.
The FTSE 100 firm, led by chief executive Chip Hornsby, has spent the last three to four years buying small and medium sized operators in Europe and America to consolidate a fragmented market.
This programme has made Wolseley the largest builders’ merchant in the world, but has saddled it was debts of more than £2bn. Its strategy was dealt a blow last year when profits began to decline as a result of the slowdown in the housing market.
Hornsby said last year: “Whether we go into recession or not, these are very challenging times for us. What we are looking for is when we will hit the bottom and how long we are going to stay there.” Large UK housebuilders, like Taylor Wimpey and Barratt, have already laid off more than 5,000 staff.