Heating and plumbing merchant giant Wolseley has seen revenues grow 5% in the first quarter from £3,471 million to £3,641 million, as strong growth in the USA offset lower growth in some of its European businesses.

The company's trading profit was 16% ahead of last year at £185m, while the gross margin improved by 0.1% to 27.1%.


Commenting on the trading outlook, chief executive Ian Meakins said: "Wolseley has continued to grow well, with strong growth in the USA offset by lower growth in some of our European businesses. Given continuing macroeconomic uncertainty, trading conditions may get tougher in the coming months.

"We will remain vigilant on costs and continue to drive performance improvements, strong cash conversion and better customer service. Our balance sheet is strong and the Group is well positioned to continue to invest selectively where we can generate good returns."

The Group also benefitted from an extra trading day in the USA, UK, Nordics and Canada which contributed £7 million of trading profit. Movements in foreign exchange rates added £29 million (0.8%) to revenue and £2 million to trading profit in the quarter.


On 31 October 2011 the Group disposed of Encon, the UK insulation business, which generated revenue of £183 million and trading profit of £5 million in the year ended 31 July 2011. Cash consideration of £20 million was paid on completion with a further £22 million satisfied through the issue of loan notes repayable in 2016.

On 4 November 2011 the disposal of Build Center was completed as previously announced, and on 17 November 2011 the Group disposed of its remaining minority stake in Stock Building Supply for cash consideration of £15 million.