Belfast Telegraph

Plumbing firm Wolseley to rebrand as Ferguson

Plumb Center owner Wolseley has announced plans to rename itself as Ferguson and pull out of the Nordics.

Wolseley said the group would take the name of its US division Ferguson - which now accounts for 84% of group trading profits - to " align the group's name with our most significant brand in our largest market".

But it said the firm will continue to use the Wolseley name in the UK and Canada.

The group also revealed it will exit the Nordics, where results have been under pressure.

The decision comes alongside an overhaul in the UK after it said in December it would axe up to 800 British jobs as part of a restructuring that will see it shut 80 branches and a distribution centre.

Its UK shake-up, which will cost the firm £100 million, comes amid a challenging period in the group's domestic market, where it has seen a sharp slowdown in growth.

Annual results also out on Tuesday from Wolseley confirmed that pre-tax profits for the six months to January 27 dropped 11% to £328 million.

But revenues rose 7% at constant exchange rates - or nearly 25% with currency movements, thanks to the boost from the weak pound flattering overseas earnings.

Shares surged 5% after the results.

Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said renaming the group Ferguson "makes sense".

"The next question will be whether a UK listing continues to make sense for a business that is generating almost 90% of profits on the other side of the pond," he added.