Builders merchant chain Jewson has snapped up rival Build Center from Wolseley plc.
Meanwhile, Jewson’s parent company, French conglomerate Saint Gobain has also agreed to buy Wolseley’s French plumbers merchant, Brosette.
Build Center turned over £316m in the last financial year and has around 150 branches across the country. Some 18 months ago Build Center was ear-marked for possible sale by chief executive Ian Meakins, one of 19 businesses (Brossette amongst them) that were not considered core or which were unlikely to improve their performance enough to remain in the Wolseley stable.
Wolseley has already off-loaded Electric Center and Brandon Hire and was very close to the disposal of retail brand Bathstore.
Build Center employs around 1,600 people and operates around 155 branches. In 2010, its turnover was £316 million.
Brossette generated €714 million in revenue in the fiscal year ended July 31, 2010 and employs 2,650 people.
Wolseley UK’s managing director Steve Ashmore said: “I truly believe that selling Build Center sets them free to realise their full potential. Equally important, it enables Wolseley UK to provide our remaining businesses with the level of investment and dedication needed to achieve the aim of becoming the best merchant in all our chosen markets.”
The sale of is subject to regulatory review by the European Commission. If approved, it is likely to go through in the last quarter of this year.
Pierre-André de Chalendar, Chairman and CEO of Saint-Gobain said: “These two acquisitions, which will add more than €1 billion of sales, are perfectly in line with the strategy of Saint-Gobain. They will further develop our Building Distribution Sector and complement the geographical presence in two of the Sector’s key businesses — general building distribution in the UK and plumbing, heating and sanitary products in France –, while creating significant synergies, particularly in the areas of purchasing and logistics.”