Ferguson plc

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Ferguson plc
Public limited company
Traded as LSEFERG
FTSE 100 Component
Industry Building materials
Founded 1887; 131 years ago (1887)
Headquarters Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Key people
Gareth Davis
John Martin
Revenue £15,224 million (2017)[1]
£995 million (2017)[1]
£783 million (2017)[1]
Number of employees
39,000 (2017)[2]
Website www.fergusonplc.com

Ferguson plc is a multinational building materials distribution company headquartered in Reading, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest heating and plumbing distributor to the professional market and has approximately 47,000 employees across 25 countries.[3]

Its brands include Ferguson, Pipe Centre, Plumb & Parts Centre and Wolseley.[4] Ferguson plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

In 2017, the company changed its name from Wolseley to Ferguson, to reflect the United States being the predominant market.


The Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company Limited

Wolseley plc was incorporated in London in 1887 as a listed public company with the name The Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company Limited to fund and exploit the commercial potential of the sheep shearing machinery invented by Frederick York Wolseley (1837–1899). Its board of directors were among the most prominent businessmen of Australia and the size of its capitalization placed it among the more important new issues of that year. From the beginning, because machinery sales were highly seasonal, efforts were made to diversify operations beyond the sheep shearing machinery. Wolseley, with his Australian pastoral interests, resigned because of ill health in 1894.[5]

Lord Austin and his Wolseley cars, chairman of this company (1911–1933)

Herbert Austin, who had worked on Wolseley's shearing machinery development in Melbourne Australia from 1887, when he was aged just 20, was appointed its manager and received a share of its equity.[5] Seeking other suitable products Austin designed his first car in 1896 and for the next four years continued to develop and improve his designs. Though the board did allow Austin to purchase some machinery to build cars they decided around 1900, it was unlikely to be a profitable industry. In 1901, Wolseley's embryo car business was acquired by Vickers, Sons and Maxim.[5]

This new business belonged to a company incorporated with the name the Wolseley Tool & Motor Car Company Limited, later Wolseley Motors Limited.[6] Herbert Austin went on to found the Austin Motor Company in 1905 but still maintained a close interest in Wolseley and became its chairman serving in that post from 1911 until his retirement in 1933.[7]

Building supplies business

In 1960, Wolseley bought Nu-Way Heating Limited which was the beginning of its transformation into a heating and building supplies business.[8] Nu-Way's spare parts components business developed into OBC (Oil Burner Components). In 1965, Wolseley purchased Granville Controls and Yorkshire Heating Supplies to complement OBC's product range.[8] From 1973, the products of these three manufacturing businesses were sold through Wolseley-Hughes Merchants, which was founded in that year.[8] It later changed its name to Wolseley Centres.[8]

Wolseley continued to expand by purchasing both manufacturing and distribution businesses. In 1982, it entered the United States market by acquiring Ferguson Enterprises, a distributor of plumbing supplies with around 50 branches on the East Coast of the United States.[8] In 1984, some of the manufacturing businesses were sold off, and since that time Wolseley has been mainly a distribution business.[8]

Further acquisitions in the United Kingdom and United States followed regularly, and in February 1992, Wolseley entered the Continental European market for the first time, by buying a French plumbing supplies business called Brossette.[8] Many more acquisitions of distribution businesses followed, and in April 2000, Wolseley sold most of its remaining manufacturing businesses to Cinven for £215 million.[8]

In July 2008, following the effects of the credit crunch, Wolseley issued a profit warning and announced 6,000 job losses.[9] In July 2011, Wolseley announced the sale of Build Center and Brossete to Saint-Gobain.[10][11] In April 2015, Wolseley announced the sale of ISB (Importation et Solution Bois) Group.[12] Then in November 2015, OpenGate Capital entered into an exclusivity agreement with Wolseley plc to acquire Bois & Matériaux.[13]

Ferguson plc

On 29 March 2017, Wolseley announced plans to rebrand as Ferguson plc, effective 31 July 2017 pending shareholder approval. The main reason for this change is due to the largest portion of their business resides in the United States of America. At the same time, they announced that they would continue to use the Wolseley moniker in the United Kingdom and Canada, due to brand recognition.[14] On 1 August 2017, the name and stock listing was officially changed to reflect the Ferguson branding.[14]



Ferguson is organised geographically:[15]

Ferguson operates in total of 14 countries around the world, including:[16]

Wolseley UK

Wolseley UK is based in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. Wolseley UK trades under the following brands, many of which are acquired businesses which have subsequently been re-branded to fit Wolsely brand patterns:

Wolseley US

Wolseley US operates Ferguson Enterprises (plumbing and heating).

Wolseley Canada

Wolseley Canada is organised into the following businesses: Plumbing, Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R), Waterworks and Industrial (Pipe, Valves and Fittings (PVF)).

DT Group

DT Group, based in Denmark, operates in Northern and Central Europe with the following brands: Silvan, Stark, Starkki, Beijer Byggmaterial, Neumann, Woodcote and Cheapy.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2017" (PDF). Ferguson plc. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Careers". Wolseley plc. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Wolseley gives hope to economic recovery with 4pc rise in revenues". The Telegraph. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Our businesses". Wolseley plc. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Roy Church, ‘Austin, Herbert, Baron Austin (1866–1941)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  6. ^ "Veteran and Edwardian". Wolseley Register. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Herbert Austin". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Company history". Wolseley plc. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
  9. ^ "contractjournal.com". contractjournal.com. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Wolseley agrees to sell Build Center to Saint Gobain". BBC. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Wolseley agrees to sell Brossette to Saint Gobain". Batirama. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Wolseley agrees to sell ISB".
  13. ^ "OpenGate Capital enters into exclusivity with Wolseley plc for the Acquisition of Bois & Matériaux".
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Wolseley to rebrand as Ferguson as it departs from Scandinavia". The Telegraph. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Wolseley - Our businesses - Overview". wolseley.com. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Wolseley - About us". wolseley.com. Retrieved 21 March 2015.

External links

  • Corporate site
  • Yahoo! profile
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