Wolseley May Exit French Building Materials Business

Announced as part of its ongoing restructuring, Wolseley looks to sell part of its French business following its Q1 sales drop of 9.3 percent.

The world's largest plumbing supplies distributor, U.K.-based Wolseley, recently announced it is considering exiting its building materials business in France, where trading has been an uphill battle. The company is No. 1 on Industrial Distribution's 2014 Big 50 List.

Wolseley, which runs the Ferguson and Plumb Center chains in the United States and Britain, said the French business generated revenue and trading profit of $873 million and $10.5 million in the year ended July 31, 2014. It had net assets of $196 million.

At its first quarter results in November, the company said like-for-like revenue in the region fell by 9.3 percent in the face of weak economic conditions.

"The Group continues to apply disciplined resource allocation principles to all of its businesses and has decided to explore exit options for its remaining building materials business in France," the company said on its website.

Wolseley operates in France under Reseau Pro, Panofrance and Silverwood brands.