UK-based Wolseley plc, parent company of Ferguson Enterprises, reported full-year sales of £13.3 billion (US$20.2 billion), an 11.3 percent increase over the same period a year ago. On a like-for-like basis, sales were up 7.1 percent.
Trading profit increased 14 percent to £857 million (US$1.3 billion).
“The highlight of these results was another great performance by Ferguson in the US where we achieved strong like-for-like revenue growth ahead of the market and a 50 basis point improvement in the trading margin to 8.2 percent, which is a record,” said Ian Meakins, CEO of Wolseley. “We continue to face some challenging markets in the rest of the group and remain focused on improving growth rates and protecting gross margins whilst keeping the cost base tight.”
U.S. business sales, including Ferguson, were up 9.6 percent from last year to £8.3 billion (US$12.6 billion) on a like-for-like basis. On an actual basis, sales were up 18.3 percent and acquisitions contributed an additional 2.8 percent.
Trading profit in the U.S. was up 26 percent to £683 million (US$1 billion).
Blended branches, Waterworks and Build.com, the company’s B2C e-commerce business, continued to grow strongly throughout the year. The HVAC and fire and fabrication businesses also generated good growth. Industrial, which represents about 15 percent of Ferguson’s revenues, grew strongly in the first half but declined in the fourth quarter as activity levels fell, particularly in the major oil producing states.
Thirteen acquisitions were completed during the year, with a total annualized revenue of £131 million (US$198.5 million).
In the final quarter, Wolseley acquired eComfort, a Chicago-based HVAC company, and W R White, a waterworks business based in Salt Lake City.
Since the year end, the company has also acquired Central Pipe and Supply, an Alabama-based fire and fabrication business, with annualized revenue of £5 million (US$7.6 million).
The company also disposed of its small, non-core specialty pipe business during the year
Sales in Canada were down 0.3 percent compared to last year on a like-for-like basis.
During the year the company acquired Goodman and QIP, two small industrial businesses with total annualized revenue of £15 million (US$22.7 million). The company also disposed of its HDPE pipe business.
Sales in the UK were 3.6 percent ahead of the prior year on a like-for-like basis with acquisitions contributing an additional 4.1 percent.
During the year the company acquired BathEmpire.com, a B2C online bathroom retailer with annualized revenue of £26 million (US$39.4 million), and MPS, a utilities distributor, with annualized revenue of £38 million (US$57.6 million).
Sales in the Nordics region were up 5.5 percent on a like-for-like basis with acquisitions contributing an additional 4.9 percent.
During the year the company acquired Hobro Ny Traelast, a single builders merchant site with annualized revenue of £10 million (US$15.2 million).
Like-for-like sales in Central Europe decreased 1.4 percent compared to the prior year, due principally to price deflation. In Switzerland the market declined sharply but construction markets improved in the Netherlands.