Strong housing market helps builders' merchant Wolseley achieve record UK turnover while world-wide sales pass £10bn mark

Wolseley has announced a pre-tax profit of 37.3% as sales topped £10bn worldwide for the year ended 31 July 2004.

Sales in the UK reached £2bn for the first time as operating margins increased to 7.8%. The FTSE 100 builders’ merchant said that sales were principally driven by the UK’s strong housing market.

However Wolseley said that business in the rest of continental Europe remained flat, although it reported that the business environment in France was improving. In the US Wolseley said that the residential and RMI sectors were expected to hold up well.

Charles Banks, Wolsley group chief executive said: “We have achieved more than a 30% improvement in trading profit and earnings per share, and hit £10bn of sales for the first time. Our businesses are performing well and the economic outlook for the current year gives us confidence going forward.”

The firm also reported that the acquisition of 15 companies of £123.5m should generate around £304.8m sales per annum. Dividends increased 12.3% to 23.8p per share.