Ferguson plc is a Jersey registered multinational plumbing and heating products distributor with its head office in Winnersh Triangle, United Kingdom. Ferguson has approximately 35,000 employees across three regions. Its brands include Ferguson Enterprises (in the United States), Wolseley (in the United Kingdom and Canada) and William Wilson (in the United Kingdom).
|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: FERG|
FTSE 100 Component
|Revenue||US$22,010 million (2019)|
|US$1,496 million (2019)|
|US$1,108 million (2019)|
Number of employees
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 March 2017, to reflect the primacy of its operations in the United States. The company is registered in Jersey. The company continues to trade as Wolseley in the United Kingdom 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 Burners Limited was founded in 1932 in Vines Lane, Droitwich Spa, Oil Burner Components Limited was founded by Nu Way in 1959, as a national spares organisation. Out of that grew O.B.C. Limited, and then Wolseley Centers Limited, the major distributor of plumbing and central heating equipment. 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, 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:
- United Kingdom (trading as Wolseley UK)
- United States (trading as Ferguson Enterprises) including Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Caribbean
- Canada (trading as Wolseley Canada) and Central Europe
In the United Kingdom, Ferguson trades as Wolseley and is based in Warwick in Warwickshire. Following a restructuring of the business in the country announced in February 2016, which resulted in most of the trading brands being renamed, and brought under the single brand of Wolseley, the company now trades in the United Kingdom only as Wolseley and William Wilson. William Wilson is supplier of plumbing, heating and bathroom products in Scotland.
Canada and Central EuropeEdit
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 2019" (PDF). Ferguson plc. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
- "Corporate profile". Ferguson plc. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
- "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. Archived from the original on 16 December 2009. 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.