Ferguson sells Nordic business to private equity

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Plumbing supplier Ferguson has struck an agreement to offload its Nordic building materials business to US private equity firm Lone Star Funds for one billion euros (£885 million).

The group, formerly known as Wolseley, said it would sell Stark Group as part of efforts to focus on its core plumbing and heating businesses.

Ferguson chief executive John Martin said: “The sale of Stark Group will secure an excellent future for our people and will continue to ensure that customers’ needs are met.

“The transaction represents a good outcome for Ferguson shareholders and will enable us to continue to focus on our strategy of accelerating profitable growth in our plumbing and heating businesses.”

Stark Group generated revenue of 2.2 billion euros in the year to July and booked a trading profit of 65 million euros.

Shares in Ferguson were up 1% to 5,370p in morning trading.

In October Ferguson saw annual pre-tax profits soar 75% to £1.2 billion, thanks to strong growth from its revamped US operation and as it retreated from the Nordics.

The group’s name change from Wolseley in July was part of efforts to focus more on the US, where it makes the bulk of its revenue and trades as Ferguson.