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Wolseley announce results for the half year to 31st January 2012
Revenue was up for the world's largest trade distributor of plumbing and heating products and a leading supplier of building materials.
The company, which operates in the USA,Canada,UK,Nordics,Central Europe and France, said that revenue was up 3% (lfl 5%) to £6,841 million with a trading profit of £310 million, 13% ahead of last year.
The figures reflected continued strong growth in USA and weakness in Europe. There has been investment of £6 million in 39 new branches and the disposals of Encon, Build Center and a residual stake in Stock Building Supply completed.
Ian Meakins, Chief Executive, commented,"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 to 5 per cent. Good cash flow has enabled us to continue to reduce net debt and to invest for future growth. We have completed a number of value-enhancing acquisitions in the US and Nordics and they are being integrated promptly.
"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. We will continue to pursue operating efficiencies and remain focused on improving customer service, gaining market share and protecting our gross margins. We will continue to invest selectively in the business where we can exploit growth opportunities and generate good returns.
"An attractive and sustainable dividend is an important element of shareholder returns and we have raised the interim dividend to 20 pence per share, 33 per cent ahead of last year reflecting our confidence in the business."