Plumbing and heating giant Wolseley celebrated the official opening of its new Leamington Spa headquarters yesterday after announcing two major acquisitions in the United States totalling £98 million.
The first acquisition, in plumbing and heating distribution, is John H. Frischkorn, Jr, which has a branch network of 17 locations across six states and has its headquarters in Richmond, Virginia.
The second is building materials distributor Seigle's, which has 11 locations across Chicago and northern Illinois through which it sells lumber, building materials, framing services and value-added products.
Group chief executive Charles Banks, who officially opened the new UK headquarters, said the deals would further strengthen the company's presence in North America and support its strategy of growing the business at double-digit rates.
Since the beginning of the financial year, the Wolseley group has acquired a total of 13 distribution businesses in Europe and North America for an aggregate consideration of approximately £411 million in cash.
These 13 acquisitions are expected to add approximately £652 million to group turnover in a full year.
Goodwill related to these acquisitions is estimated to be about £262 million.
At the opening at Spa Park yesterday, Mr Banks told Wolseley staff and guests that he was proud of the group's track record of reinventing itself, from a manufacturing firm to a distribution and service-focused company.
"We are a growth success story, not only internationally but also here in the UK," Mr Banks said.
"Wolseley UK has led the way on diversification of our business and has set the pace for the rest of the world.
"I hope this new site shows our confidence in the economy and the UK team's ability to deliver growth."
Adrian Barden, managing director of Wolseley UK, thanked staff for their patience during the 18 month transition to the new Leamington Spa site.
Staff from branches in Kettering, Harrogate and the former headquarters in Ripon North Yorkshire were faced with voluntary redundancy or relocation when the company decided to move.
More than 100 families transferred to Leamington and Mr Barden said the company could now look forward to delivering and exceeding the success outlined by Mr Banks.
Mr Barden also said he looked forward to the opening of Wolseley UK's new 340,000 square foot distribution centre, also planned for the site.
"It is absolutely key to the progression of Wolseley's growth strategy," he said.
Mr Barden said the firm also had plans for a smaller distribution warehouse north of Manchester.
The new centres would provide Wolseley with an unrivalled network and could also free up space at their warehouse in West Horndon, London, to supply the 2012 Olympics building programme.