Wolseley to sell off Build Center and Brossette

The plumbing supplies firm Wolseley is to sell off its UK-based Build Center arm and its French plumbing and heating unit Brossette, netting £310m as it seeks to pay down debt and refocus its business.

The buyer is Saint-Gobain, the French construction materials group. Wolseley said it had signed an agreement to sell Build Center for £145m, and entered into exclusive negotiations to offload Brossette for £165m.

Together, the two deals mark the "last significant disposals" following the strategic review of the company undertaken by the chief executive Ian Meakins last year. Both deals require competition clearance, Wolseley said. "We will continue to focus and invest in our strongest businesses in core markets, including building materials and wood solutions in France and plumbing, heating, pipe, climate and associated businesses in the UK," it added.

Adrian Kearsey, an analyst at Evolution Securities, welcomed the disposals, saying that, once completed, they would leave Wolseley with only about £100m of debt. "[The] deals should be well received by investors," he added.