Wolseley is planning to launch a long-awaited £1bn rights issue as soon as the end of the week in an attempt by the company to dig its way out from under its £3bn debt pile.

The struggling builders’ merchant is also expected to announce significant write-downs at Stock, the loss-making retail division heavily exposed to the stagnant US housing market.

The move follows a series of rights issues from UK companies, including HSBC’s £12bn fund-raising plan yesterday. Amid forecasts that more than £50bn could be raised by UK companies by the end of the year, some investors now fear that the market will struggle to digest more capital raising.

Financial Times