Wolseley UK will become “an independent listed Company serving residential and commercial tradespeople and customers” following an announcement from the Board of Ferguson to demerge its UK operations. Subject to shareholder approval, the move is said to mark the conclusion of a detailed review of the Group’s assets over several years.
The separation will “further simplify the Group and will enable Wolseley UK to focus exclusively on customers in the UK market”. Following the demerger, Ferguson will be wholly focused on serving customers in North America.
John Martin, Chief Executive of Ferguson plc, said: “The demerger will enable both Wolseley UK and Ferguson to focus on accelerating the execution of their independent plans, providing clear investment propositions for each business.
“Wolseley UK has a strong market position, leading customer propositions and an experienced management team with significant opportunities for development in the large and fragmented plumbing, heating and infrastructure markets. Ferguson will continue to execute its successful strategy, building on a strong track record of profitable growth, market outperformance and generating attractive returns for shareholders.”
It has also been announced that John Martin will step down as Group CEO on 19 November 2019. John joined the Board as CFO in 2010 before being appointed to the position of CEO in 2016, based in the UK. During his tenure the Group reports that it has been “significantly simplified and strengthened, substantially improving its market positions and generating excellent returns for shareholders.”
Kevin Murphy will succeed John as Group CEO. Kevin is a US national based in Virginia who joined the Board in August 2017 when he was appointed CEO of Ferguson’s US operations. Before that Kevin was Chief Operating Officer for 10 years, having joined Ferguson in 1999 following the acquisition of his family’s business, Midwest Pipe and Supply.
The Board notes that it “has kept listing structure under review over several years. Following the significant simplification of the Group over that period and the demerger of Wolseley UK, Ferguson will be wholly focused on attractive markets in North America. In light of this, the Board is again considering the most appropriate listing structure for the Group going forward. A range of options and associated costs and benefits will be assessed and the Company will further consult with shareholders in due course.”