Ferguson plc, parent company of UK plumbing heating and civils merchants Wolseley UK, is to move its headquarters back to the UK for tax purposes, it announced in its interim results yesterday (March 26).
The group, which renamed itself Ferguson plc to match 83% of its revenue that comes from its US business of that name, moved its headquarters to Switzerland nine years after failing to obtain a “clear enough view” on the then UK Coalition government’s tax policy.
Half-year revenue in the USA remained good, the group reports, and the businesses continued to take market share. In Canada, residential markets weakened. In the UK plumbing and heating markets were flat.
Total UK revenue for the six months to January 31 2019 was $1,177m (£894m), down 10.4% from $1,354m (£1029m), although trading profit, at $30m (£22.8m) was down 16.7%.
The repairs, maintenance and improvement markets were reported as flat, although gross margins grew due to an improved product mix. The trading margin was 2.5% (2018: 2.8%). A restructuring programme continues that includes the closure of the national distribution centre and the relocation of the support services offices, both in Leamington Spa.
Ferguson chief executive John Martin, said: “We have revised our estimates of group organic growth to between 3% and 5%.” In its worst-case scenario, that represents a halving of Ferguson’s growth plans from 6%.