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Wolseley plans tax move to Switzerland

The UK company is planning a move to Switzerland to save on corporate tax.

UK-based Wolseley, the world's largest plumbing and heating products supplier, plans to set up a new holding company in Switzerland to save on corporate tax.

The firm, which trades in 25 countries including the UK, the US and Canada, generates 81 per cent of its revenues overseas.

Finance chief John Martin said Wolseley felt it was being "taxed twice" under UK laws, according to which it must pay tax on overseas earnings.

"Our underlying tax rate has now moved up to 34 per cent. By redomiciling to Switzerland, that tax rate will come down to about 28 per cent," said chief executive Ian Meakins. The move is subject to shareholder approval.

Wolseley reported revenues of £13.2bn for the year to the end of July, down from £14.4bn the previous year. But losses were reduced from £766m last year to £328m.

Earlier this year, media group Informa moved to a Swiss tax base. Other companies such as advertising firm WPP and United Business Media have moved their tax base to the Republic of Ireland.