Building materials group Wolseley has reported a 23 percent fall in first-half trading profit as its US arm continued to suffer with a collapsing housing market.
The company, which has its UK operations headquarters in Leamington Spa, also warned that business conditions in its major markets would become more challenging in the year ahead.
Wolseley reported ££300 million of trading profits for the six months to end-January, compared with an average forecast of £307.6 million, as its US building materials unit Stock swung to a loss of £44 million.
Wolseley defines trading profit as operating profit before the amortisation and impairment of acquired intangibles.
"The board expects business conditions in a number of the group's markets to become more challenging. In the U.S., the housing market is likely to deteriorate further and put additional pressure on the RMI (repair, maintenance and improvement) market," it said in a statement.
Wolseley, which slashed 6,000 jobs in its last financial year and cut another 3,000 jobs to combat a tough U.S. housing market, said its focus would remain on further cost reductions and maximising cash flow.
Shares in Wolseley, valued at around £3.5 billion, closed at 532 pence on Friday. The shares have fallen 42 percent over the past six months, hit by the U.S. weakness and a weakening outlook for non-residential market in the U.S. and Europe.