Builders and plumbers merchant group Wolseley has apparently put three of its UK businesses – Build Center, Electric Center and insulation distributor Encon up for sale, according to speculation in this weekend’s financial press.
Wolseley has refused to comment on the rumours, and told buildersmerchantsjournal that the group “never comments on speculation of this nature,” however, both the Financial Times, Sunday Express and Irish Times carried the story in some detail.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is said to have been appointed to handle the sales. Travis Perkins, Jewson parent Saint Gobain and Grafton Group are all thought to be interested in some of the businesses, along with several private equity partners.
In March 2010 Wolseley chief executive Ian Meakins announced that 19 businesses would be marked as ‘performance builders’, with the underlying message that if they didn’t perform to target they would be disposed of. Brandon Hire was sold in August and retail chain Bathstore was almost sold to a private equity concern before the sale fell through.
The sales could bring in around £300m and Brossette, the French plumbing chain is also thought likely to be sold.
Build Center has around 200 stores with revenues last year around £300m. Electric Center operates from 90 outlets, while Encon was acquired in 2005 for £140m.