Wolseley (LON:WOS) has updated investors on its half-year performance this morning.
**Highlights from the company statement:**
Revenue 6.7% ahead of last year at constant exchange rates with like-for-like growth of 3.2%.
Changes in foreign exchange rates increased revenue by £1,131 million.
Gross margin of 28.6%, 0.3% ahead of last year.
Trading profit of £515 million, 5.0% ahead of last year at constant exchange rates. Commodity deflation reduced trading profit by £17 million in the USA.
Net debt of £1,297 million.
Interim dividend of 36.67 pence per share, an increase of 10.2%.
John Martin, Chief Executive, commented:
“The Group delivered a good trading performance in the first half driven by Ferguson. In the US, residential and commercial markets remained good and industrial markets improved but were still negative. Commodity price deflation reduced US revenue growth by 1.8 per cent in the first half.
“The UK transformation programme has started well and we are making good progress clarifying our customer propositions and simplifying our logistics network. We have concluded our review of the Nordic operating strategy and identified a clear and executable plan to return the business to profitable growth. However, there are few synergies with the rest of the Group’s plumbing and heating businesses and we have initiated a process to exit our business in the region. We have excellent opportunities to generate attractive returns in our other businesses and we will focus resources there in the future.
“Ferguson now accounts for 84 per cent of Group trading profit and we have decided to align the Group’s name with our most significant brand in our largest market. Whilst the Group will be known as Ferguson plc going forward we will continue to use the Wolseley name in the UK and Canada where it has strong local recognition.
“Like-for-like revenue growth since the end of the period has been about 4.5 per cent for the Group and 5.5 per cent in the USA. Commodity deflation has been negligible in this period. We continue to execute our strategy of investing in profitable growth and expansion where appropriate while keeping tight control of the cost base. We expect the Group to make further progress in the second half.”
As of 07:10 BST, Tuesday, 28 March, Wolseley plc share price is 4,895.53p.
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