Profit falls 72% to £79m as building supplier predicts worse to come this year

Profits at building supplier Wolseley have plummeted in the six months to 31 January 2008 on the back of the US housing slump.

The figure fell 72% from £285m the previous year to £79m on the back of a 2% rise in turnover to £8bn.

A company statement said it expected conditions to get worse this year. It said: “The US housing market is likely to deteriorate further and put additional pressure on the repair, maintenance and improvement market. The US commercial and industrial market is likely to remain stable for the next few months but soften thereafter.”

Shares in the group have fallen 42% over the past six months and closed at 532p last week, valuing the group at £3.5bn.

Citigroup said the group’s gearing level of 84% meant the group was stretched and that the outlook was “very difficult”.