Wolseley's first-half profit climbs 28 per cent
But recent growth slows in Europe for the Ferguson operator.
Wolseley, the world's biggest building-supplies company, has posted a profit before tax of £250m for the half-year ended 31 January 2012 – an increase of 28 per cent compared to £195m for the same period the previous year.
Revenue increased by 3 per cent to £6.84bn, up from £6.63bn for the same period in 2011.
The British company’s US trading, which generates around 45 per cent of group revenues, rose 9 per cent in the period (contributing £2.97bn); the UK market, which comprises around 15 per cent of the group’s revenues, declined by 3 per cent.
The group’s trading profit increased by 3 per cent to £310m (2011: £275m).
Ian Meakins, chief executive of Wolseley, said: “Wolseley has delivered another decent performance, despite challenging economic conditions in Europe, with like-for-like revenue growth of 5 per cent. The underlying gross margin was maintained and our ongoing focus on operational efficiency has delivered further improvements in the trading margin of the ongoing business.”
Like-for-like revenue growth was 5 per cent. The group’s gross margins declined slightly, partly as a result of significant copper price deflation in the first quarter.
Net finance costs were reduced to £15m (2011: £31m), reflecting the lower level of net debt and the benefits of the refinancing completed in 2011. As of 31 January 2012, the group’s net debt was £470m (2011: £714m).
The group completed sales of Encon and Build Center during the first half of 2012 and Brossette is expected to be dropped in the near future.