Shares in Wolseley were down on the FTSE 100 in morning trading after the building materials company reported a significant loss in the full year ended 31 July 2010.
The group reported a drop in revenue of nine per cent to £13.2 billion, despite this the group managed to cut its losses from £766 million last year to £328 million.
Wolseley offered some hope for shareholders, saying that it intended to resume the payment of dividends at the 2011 half year results.
The group said that its full year trading profit had improved in its British, Nordic, Canadian and Central and Eastern European businesses, thanks mainly to cost cuts in the previous year.
In France and the US trading improved in the second half of the year, while in Ireland Wolseley said it had withdrawn its business.
Wolseley announced that its Chairman, John Whybrow, would be standing down at the AGM on 20 January 2011 and would be replaced by Gareth Davis. In addition the group said it would be moving its tax residence to Switzerland.
Ian Meakins, Chief Executive of Wolseley, said, "In the second half of 2010 an improvement in like-for-like revenue growth, continued cost discipline and a consistent focus on protecting gross margins delivered results ahead of expectations. Recognising this improved performance the Board intends to resume dividends at the half year results.
"Demand across our markets remains mixed and the economic outlook continues to be unclear. Revenue growth in the early part of the current financial year is similar to that seen in Q4 last year. We will continue to take actions that will strengthen the business and, whilst overall we remain cautious about the outlook for our markets, we are confident that Wolseley will make good progress in the year ahead."
By 09:25 shares in Wolseley were down 0.85 per cent on the FTSE 100 to 1,517.00 pence per share.