Housing Decline Hurts Wolseley Trading Profits

Reading–The weakening housing market helped lower the largest global distributor of plumbing and heating supplies’ trading profits by 40 percent in the five months ending in December, The Financial Times reported Monday.In November, the U.K.-based company–headquartered in Reading–said North American trading profits were down 30 percent. Wolseley’s shares have lost half their value in the past 12 months and fell 8.9 percent early Monday in London trading.North America comprised more than half of last year’s £16.2 billion group turnover and £877 million trading profits, the Times said. Wolseley’s overall trading profit–operating profits before amortization and impairment–fell by a quarter in the period. Wolseley said conditions in the U.S. would likely deteriorate before recovering, stressing that the large home inventory would need to be reduced and subprime credit issues had to be fixed before the situation improved.