|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: FERG|
FTSE 100 Component
|Revenue||US$20,752 million (2018)|
|US$1,442 million (2018)|
|US$1,267 million (2018)|
Number of employees
Ferguson plc is a Jersey-registered multinational plumbing and heating products distributor with its head office in Zug, Switzerland. It is administered from Reading, United Kingdom. Ferguson has approximately 35,000 employees across three regions.
Its brands include Ferguson Enterprises (in the US), Wolseley (in the UK and Canada) and William Wilson (in the UK). Ferguson plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
Wolseley plc changed its name to Ferguson plc in 2017 to reflect the primacy of its US operations. The Company is registered in Jersey, and tax-resident in Zug, Switzerland. The company continues to trade as Wolseley in the UK and Canada.
Ferguson's business began in 1887 named Wolseley and making sheep shearing machinery. 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. 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.
The postwar rise of synthetic textiles sharply reduced the demand for wool and the necessary machinery and in 1960 Wolseley diversified activities by buying Nu-Way Heating Limited. Nu-Way took Wolseley into the heating and building supplies business. In 1965 Wolseley purchased Granville Controls and Yorkshire Heating Supplies.
Wolseley continued to expand buying 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. In 1984, some of the manufacturing businesses were sold off, and since that time Wolseley has been mainly a distribution business.
There were further acquisitions in the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe. Wolseley moved into Europe by buying French plumbing supplies business Brossette in February 1992. Acquisition of many more distribution businesses followed. In April 2000 Wolseley sold most of its remaining manufacturing businesses to Cinven for £215 million.
Wolseley issued a profit warning in July 2008 after the credit crunch and announced 6,000 job losses. It sold Build Center and Brossete to Saint-Gobain in July 2011 and ISB (Importation et Solution Bois) Group in April 2015. Bois & Matériaux went to OpenGate Capital in November 2015.
Wolseley announced it would rebrand as Ferguson effective 31 July 2017 because almost all of its business was now in the United States of America in the name of Ferguson Enterprises. For the moment it would continue to use the name Wolseley in the United Kingdom and Canada for its brand recognition. The stock listing switched to new holding company Ferguson plc on 1 August 2017.
Ferguson is organised geographically as follows:
- UK (trading as Wolseley UK)
- US (trading as Ferguson Enterprises) including Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Caribbean
- Canada (trading as Wolseley Canada) and Central Europe (trading as Wasco in the Netherlands)
In the UK, Ferguson trades as Wolseley and is based in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. Following a restructuring of the UK business announced in 2016, which resulted in most of the UK trading brands being renamed and brought under the single 'Wolseley' brand, the company now trades in the UK only as Wolseley, soak.com and William Wilson. Soak.com, formerly known as Bath Empire, is a UK online bathroom retailer, headquartered in Nuneaton, United Kingdom. William Wilson is supplier of plumbing, heating and bathroom products in Scotland.
Canada and Central Europe
Ferguson plc operates in Canada as Wolseley Canada, where it is organised into the following businesses: Plumbing, Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R), Waterworks and Industrial (Pipe, Valves and Fittings).
- "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Ferguson plc. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
- "Corporate profile". Ferguson plc. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- "Our businesses". Ferguson plc. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- "Wolseley to rebrand as Ferguson, exit Nordic region". FT. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- Roy Church, ‘Austin, Herbert, Baron Austin (1866–1941)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
- "Company history". Wolseley plc. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
- "contractjournal.com". contractjournal.com. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "Wolseley agrees to sell Build Center to Saint Gobain". BBC. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "Wolseley agrees to sell Brossette to Saint Gobain". Batirama. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "Wolseley agrees to sell ISB".
- "OpenGate Capital enters into exclusivity with Wolseley plc for the Acquisition of Bois & Matériaux".
- "Wolseley to rebrand as Ferguson as it departs from Scandinavia". The Telegraph. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
- "Ferguson taps into lucrative US construction market". The Times. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- "Wolseley cuts 800 more jobs as profits dip". The Gusrdian. 27 February 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- "Plumb and Parts Center now Wolseley". Gas Engineer. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 8 November 2018.