Wolseley plc will change its name to Ferguson plc, subject to shareholder approval. Ferguson, the company's U.S. business, is the most significant brand in its portfolio and accounts for 84 percent of the Wolseley Group’s profitability.
“We are proud to have the Wolseley Group adopt the Ferguson name. We have built a very strong brand over the last 64 years and are known for our performance reputation,” Ferguson CEO Frank Roach said. “The Ferguson name best represents the group today and will help create greater shareholder interest in the U.S.”
Effective Aug. 1, 2017, the new Ferguson plc will report in U.S. dollars, minimizing currency volatility. The company will remain listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Roach will retire on July 31, 2017, to be replaced by Ferguson COO Kevin Murphy.
Wolseley also reported sales for the fiscal half year ended Jan. 31 of £8.4 billion (US$10.5 billion), up 24.5 percent over the same period a year ago. Trading profit grew 25 percent to £515 million (US$642.1 million).
U.S. business reported first-half sales of £5.7 billion (US$7.1 billion), up 9.9 percent over a year ago (based on a constant-currency comparison). Revenue grew by 5.4 percent on a like-for-like basis including price deflation of 1.8 percent. Acquisitions contributed 2.5 percent of additional revenue growth.
In Canada and Central Europe, sales increased 1.6 percent to £653 million (US$814.2 million). Like-for-like revenue was 1.4 percent lower including price inflation of 1.7 percent. Acquisitions contributed 1.3 percent of additional growth. Canada declined due to challenging markets in the oil producing regions in the west, while Switzerland continued to face difficult market conditions.
In the UK, sales were up 1.5 percent to £1.01 billion (US$1.2 billion). Like-for-like revenue was 0.3 percent higher including price inflation of 0.8 percent.
In the Nordic region, sales decreased 0.7 percent to £1.03 billion (US$1.2 billion), and revenue was 2.3 percent behind last year on a like-for-like basis.