Wolseley profits from growth in the US

Building and heating materials group Wolseley has seen profits rise 28%.

The company reported pre-tax profits of £250m for the six months to the end of January, up from £195m in the same period the previous year.

The company, which owns Plumb Center and Bathstore in the UK and Ferguson in the US, said it had seen strong growth in the US and weakness in Europe.

Wolseley has been restructuring, with the sale of businesses such as Build Center and a number of acquisitions.

The company is also close to completing the sale of its Brossette business in France.

'Slightly lower'

"We have completed a number of value-enhancing acquisitions in the US and Nordics and they are being integrated promptly," said chief executive Ian Meakins.

"Like-for-like growth trends for the group since the end of the period have been slightly lower than the first half overall, with the US a little better and Europe a little weaker."

Wolseley has raised its interim dividend 33% to 20 pence per share.

The Leamington Spa-based business employs 6,670 staff in the UK, where 15% of its revenues come from.

Like-for-like sales in the UK fell 3%. The company said demand in the heating market had been subdued, but its other categories had held up well.

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