Major Ripon employer to be split from parent

The Wolseley centre in Ripon, where the company employs about 250 staff.
The Wolseley centre in Ripon, where the company employs about 250 staff.

Wolseley, the plumbing supplies firm which employs about 250 people in Ripon, is to be split off from its parent company and relaunched as a standalone business.

Sector giant Ferguson, whose turnover exceeds $16bn, made the announcement at the same time as it confirmed the departure of its top boss.

The Virgina-based firm said that it will split off its UK operations as Wolseley UK following a lengthy strategic review of the group.

The new business will be able to “focus exclusively on customers in the UK market”, while the remaining Ferguson business will primarily serve North America.

Wolseley UK, which sells plumbing, heating, cooling and drainage supplies, is valued at an estimated £600m and is expected to be listed on the FTSE250, but Ferguson said the board is considering the “most appropriate listing structure” for the group.

Recently, the company’s UK division has struggled in difficult market conditions, posting lower revenues, as it axed branches and quit its unprofitable wholesale business.

John Martin, chief executive of Ferguson, said: “The demerger will enable both Wolseley UK and Ferguson to focus on accelerating the execution of their independent plans, providing clear investment propositions for each business.

“Wolseley UK has a strong market position, leading customer propositions and an experienced management team with significant opportunities for development in the large and fragmented plumbing, heating and infrastructure markets.”