Wolseley (WOSYY) shares rose the most in nearly a decade Tuesday after the owner of the Ferguson plumbing wholesaler beat first-half earnings estimates and set out plans that could see it move its listing from London to New York.
Wolseley will rename the group as Ferguson plc and change its reporting currency to U.S. dollars later this year, a "clear indication to us that it is going to move its listing to the US market," said Clyde Lewis, an analyst at Peel Hunt in London Tuesday.
Wolseley earns more than 65% of sales in the U.S. and 80% of trading profit from Ferguson while shareholders could benefit from a change in the listing given the higher multiples paid for companies listed in the United States. The group will also exit its Nordics business.
Shares in the group surged nearly 8% in early London trading, the most in nearly 10 years, before paring gains to around 6.3% b 09:45 GMT to change hands at 5,195 pence each, far outstripping the 0.19% gain for the Stoxx Europe 600 Construction & Materials index.
Wolseley reported first half revenue of £8.46 billion ($10.5 billion) Tuesday, which was broadly in line with expectations but up by 24.5% on the same period one year ago. Trading profit came in at £515 million for the period, the company said, up 25% in total and by 5% at constant exchange rates, against expectations for a print of £510 million.
Earnings per share were 141 pence, up by 26.7%, and ahead of estimates for EPS of 140.0 pence. The group also increased the dividend by 10.2% to 36.67 pence.
In another coup for the company's bankers, Wolseley also announced the decision to sell its business in the Nordics on Tuesday, which is unprofitable at the moment.
The company said it has a plan to return the unit, which had sales of more than £1 billion ($1.26 billion) in the first half, to profitability but that a lack of synergies with the wider group means that Wolseley will be placing it on the block.