Wolseley axes 2,300 jobs

25-11-2008

Wolseley axes 2,300 jobs
Plumbing and heating products firm Wolseley is cutting over 2,300 jobs as profit falls amid the housing slump.

The firm said it will reduce its headcount by over 2,300 - with the majority of jobs going in the UK. In total, Wolseley employs around 74,000 around the world.

The restructuring will generate annual savings of £103 million, the company added.

The news is a further blow to UK employment figures, as several banks have also recently announced huge lay-offs.

Wolseley made the announcement in its first quarter results statement. Pre-tax profit is down 45 per cent, or 50 per cent in constant currency, the firm said.

Debt was also up eight per cent since July 31st 2008, to £2.7 billion, due to unfavourable currency exchange, Wolseley added.

Chip Hornsby, group chief executive of Wolseley, said: "While these results reflect a further deterioration in the business environment in the first quarter it was not unexpected, and, we continue to react swiftly to market conditions with aggressive but measured cost reduction.

"In these unprecedented circumstances, the key priorities remain driving cost reduction and enhancing cash flow to ensure the group remains compliant with its banking covenants."

Wolseley said, given the recent financial turmoil, it expects the markets in which it operates will continue to deteriorate.

However, the firm said it has not changed its expectations, which are still broadly in line with its September outlook statement.

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