June 10, 2019 / 6:34 AM / 3 months ago

Ferguson's third-quarter revenue misses estimates on slowing U.S. growth

(Reuters) - British plumbing products distributor Ferguson Plc’s on Monday reported third-quarter revenue that fell short of estimates as growth slowed in the United States, its largest market.

The company, however, forecast annual ongoing trading profit to be in line with expectations, citing improving margins.

Ferguson’s shares were down 3% in early trading in London.

Revenue in the quarter rose 6.2% to $5.27 billion (£4.2 billion), while analysts on average had expected $5.36 billion. Trading profit for the three months ended April 30 rose 2.3% to $359 million, in line with the consensus estimate.

The company, formerly known as Wolseley, also said it would buy back shares worth $500 million.

Ferguson had flagged slowing growth in the United States in March when it forecast full-year trading profit at the lower end of analysts’ estimates.

Analysts’ consensus forecast for 2019 trading profit is currently about $1.59 billion, it said in a statement on Monday.

Ferguson recently became a UK-tax resident as it moved its headquarters to Britain from Switzerland after the central European country overhauled its corporate tax system amid international pressure to eliminate special low tax rates that benefit foreign companies based there.

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Justin George Varghese; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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