Building materials group will use cash to reduce net debt of £2.5bn

Shareholders in Wolseley have bought 98% of new shares that the building materials group issued in a £1bn rights issue.

The firm said it had made the cash call in response to the continued deterioration of the US housing market.

Wolseley sign and worker
Wolseley has cut around 17,000 staff since August 2007

It plans to spend the cash on reducing net debt of £2.5bn after a 61% fall in half-year profits.

The firm has cut around 17,000 staff and shut 713 branches since August 2007.