Wolseley will quit its businesses in three European countries and expects further weakness in its core North American plumbing division as the decline in private-sector building work gathers pace.

Steve Webster, group finance director, also left the door open to further disposals among its European businesses, many of which have suffered drops of as much as three-quarters in trading profits compared with last year’s levels.

Wolseley’s businesses in Belgium, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will be sold off following a review of the company’s central and eastern European division announced in March, the group said yesterday.

Financial Times