The 15,000 British employees of the construction supplies company Wolseley today fear for their futures after the FTSE 100 firm announced restructuring plans in response to the global credit crunch.
The company, which provides building, plumbing and heating materials and employs 79,000 people worldwide, said today that 250 employees and at least 75 branches of its Ferguson chain in North America are to be cut initially, with further reductions in Europe and the US to be announced by the end of July.
In its Interim Management Statement Wolseley revealed a 30 per cent fall in pre-tax profits over the last nine months. In April, it said, the UK market ‘slowed significantly’. The company cite this plus other ‘continuing tough market conditions’ for the cost-cutting plans, which they estimate will save £70 million per year.
It is thought that Wolesley have suffered heavily through the tightening mortgage market. The Guardian report that the company have already established a hiring-freeze here in the UK, while future prospects look ominous. While not releasing specific plans for cost reductions here, Wolseley’s chief financial officer, Steve Webster, said: “We need to see more evidence of whether the drop in demand continues or not.”
The company is best known in the UK for its chain of ‘center’ outlets which includes the Build Center, Plumb Center, Drain Center and Electric Center. It has now cropped its workforce by over 4,000 in the last six months.