Shares in Wolseley were down on the FTSE 100 in morning trading after the plumbing product distributor reported a rise in revenue and trading profit in the third quarter ended 30 April 2011.
Revenue in the period increased one per cent to £3.27 million, while trading profit rose 30 per cent to £131 million.
The group's U.S. business saw the strongest growth, with revenue rising 10 per cent to £1.3 billion.
Net debt in the period fell from £1.3 billion to £824 million.
Ian Meakins, Chief Executive of Wolseley, said, "The Group continued to make progress in the third quarter broadly maintaining the revenue growth trends achieved in the first half despite tougher comparatives. New residential construction, which accounts for 20% of Group revenue, remained subdued in most regions, while demand in repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) segments held up well in most markets.
"Like-for-like revenue growth continues to be strongest in the USA, with positive momentum in the Nordics and France offset by weaker trends in the UK and Canada. We continue to maintain our emphasis on protecting market share and gross margins whilst keeping a tight control of the cost base. Management remains confident of meeting our expectations for the full year."
Keith Bowman, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, commented,
"A lack of business disposal news has hit the shares in early trading - a slow sell-off of identified non-core businesses at the periphery of the group's geographical footprint has remained ongoing, with proceeds reducing debt. Nonetheless, the figures have broadly matched expectations, with a recovery in the US continuing to lead the way.
"On the downside, underlying costs have risen, the termination of government sponsored stimulus schemes has made year-on-year comparatives more difficult, while the group's key new build residential markets remain subdued. Furthermore, fears for a double-dip in core construction markets such as the US and UK continue to persist.
"In all, Wolseley has again reported progress, with management action rebuilding both profitability and the group's once over extended balance sheet. However, with the shares having outperformed the FTSE-100 index by over 60pc during the last two years, the core analyst debate continues to centre on valuation issues. For now, market consensus opinion denotes a strong hold."
By 10:45 shares in Wolseley were down 0.63 per cent on the FTSE 100 to 2,045.00 pence per share.