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Ferguson sells Wolseley UK

Global plumbers merchant chain Ferguson plc has sold its Wolseley UK heating and plumbing distribution business, to private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice today (January 4 2021) for approximately £308 million.

In the year ended July 31, 2020 Wolseley UK’s revenue was £1,403 million, with operating profits at £2.2million.

Ferguson said in a statement this morning that it expects the transaction to be completed at the end of January 2021.

Kevin Murphy, Chief Executive of Ferguson, said: “Wolseley is a leading heating and plumbing distribution business in the UK and we are confident the business will benefit from working with its new owners, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice who will develop the business further by focusing on continued opportunities in the industry. We’d like to thank all our associates for their tireless hard work while they have been part of the Group, especially recently through the COVID-19 pandemic. We wish them all the very best for the future.

“The transaction further simplifies the Group and allows us to focus entirely on investing in and developing our business across North America where we have the greatest opportunities for profitable growth.”

The transaction is the twelfth building products and industrial distribution investment completed by CD&R over the last decade. In 2020, CD&R it took on White Cap, a leading distributor of specialty construction products, from HD Supply and completed a partnership investment in building products distributor SIG plc.

Bruno Deschamps, Operating Advisor to CD&R funds and former COO of Ecolab, will serve as Chairman of Wolseley upon the close of the transaction, expected in the first quarter of 2021. Wolseley’s current Chief Executive Officer Simon Oakland, will continue in that role. “We believe that Wolseley, as a freestanding enterprise, can accelerate growth, enhance customer service, and create rewarding career opportunities for our colleagues,” he said. “CD&R has extensive experience supporting branch-based networks like ours and shares our vision to continue to build Wolseley’s entrepreneurial culture and relentless focus on customer satisfaction.”

Simon Oakland continues as Wolseley CEO after its acquisition

CD&R Partner Christian Rochat said: “Wolseley is a market-leading distribution platform in an industry where CD&R has extensive prior experience and success, and we believe it represents a compelling opportunity to invest at an inflection point and work with a highly credible management team to drive operating improvements and accretive M&A,” said .

“Providing strategic capital to corporate, family, and founder owned businesses has been a central tenet of CD&R’s strategy for more than forty years,” David Novak, CD&R Co-President, observed.  “The disruption of the past ten months has demonstrated the constructive role that we can play providing both capital and operating capabilities to support good businesses. We have a great appreciation for the strengths of Wolseley and look forward to partnering with the leadership team.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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