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Wolseley's pre-tax profits fall by £489m

Global heating supplies distributor Wolseley’s profit before tax has fallen by £489m this year.
The Wolseley group has published its final results for the year ended July 31, 2008, which shows the group’s pre-tax profits has taken a dive from £634m last year to £145m this year.

The owner of UK brands Brandon Hire, Plumb Center and Build Center estimates its global cost-cutting measures will secure annual savings of £176m.

There have been 7,100 job losses and 270 branch closures globally. Wolseley has reduced headcount by a further 600 since the year end with 84 jobs axed in the UK alone.

Group revenue for the year ended 31 July 2008 was approximately £16.5 billion. In its final results statement, the group's board said plans were “being developed to carry out additional restructuring and cost reductions”.

The board said it remained confident it would continue to be compliant with its banking covenants over the year ending 31 July 2009, and beyond.

Chip Hornsby, Wolseley Group chief executive said “We have continued to take action to reduce costs and drive working capital improvements in response to challenging market conditions'.

He added 'Financial discipline in terms of cost reduction and cash flow enhancement remains our primary focus to ensure the group remains compliant with our banking covenants and is well positioned for any market recovery.”
23 September 2008

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