Unaudited figures for the six months to January 31 show that, despite a small increase in revenue against the previous year (£8,029m compared with £7,870m), the group operating profit plummeted by 57.5% from £345m to £146m.
The figures, “reflect increasingly difficult trading conditions across many businesses and the continuing action to significantly reduce the group’s cost base and maximise cash flow” say the group.
And the company expects things to get more challenging before they improve, particularly in the US market. To try to combat this Wolseley will be looking at further cost reductions in the second half and is unlikely to continue its recent acquisition record, saying “The Group will apply a highly selective approach to further capital and acquisition expenditure”.
Wolseley plc group chief executive added “We are confident in the long term fundamentals of our markets and will emerge from this current downturn as a stronger organisation with an excellent platform for future growth.”