October 3, 2017 / 6:39 AM / a year ago

Ferguson profit rise 25 percent, to buy back shares

(Reuters) - Heating and plumbing products supplier Ferguson (FERG.L) reported a near 25 percent rise in full-year trading profit from ongoing business, as a strong U.S. performance offset weak British growth.

The group, which changed its name from Wolseley this year, said trading profit from ongoing business rose to 1.03 billion pounds in the year to July 31, from 827 million pounds a year earlier.

The company said it would buy back shares worth 500 million pounds over the next 12 months.

Revenue from ongoing business grew 18.3 percent to 14.87 billion pounds, up 6 percent on a like-for-like basis.

The company has increasingly banked on growth in its U.S. business to drive results, against challenging market conditions in the UK and parts of Europe, which has prompted a planned exit from the Nordic region.

It made about 89 percent of its trading profit in the U.S. market.

Trading profit in its UK division rose 2.7 percent for the year to 76 million pounds, the company said.

Wolseley, which started life in 1887 manufacturing machine tools and cars before moving into distribution in 1979, has faced tough competition and a weak market for its core repair, maintenance and property improvement services in the UK and Europe.

($1 = 0.7548 pounds)

Reporting by Esha Vaish and Rahul B in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely

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