Wolseley plc

Deal summary

Catalyst advised Wolseley plc, the FTSE 100 listed building products distributor, on the sale of its UK electrical wholesaler, Electric Center.

The acquirer was Edmundson Electrical, one of the UK’s largest electrical wholesalers.

Electric Center is a leading B2B distributor of electrical equipment, selling predominantly to contractors. The business operates from over 80 branches, generating turnover of c£130 million and employing in excess of 550 people.

What difference did we make?

Our client had two very clear objectives when selling this subsidiary which were to maximise the value and to deliver the deal as quickly as possible in order to fit in with the wider plc objectives. Whilst helpfully very clear, these were challenging objectives on our appointment in late February 2011, due to:

- the difficulties the construction sector was still experiencing - the business being an integrated division of the plc

To address these issues, we firstly led a forensic separation exercise clearly identifying the assets and profitability for sale. We then designed a sales approach to create both a sense of competitive tension and exclusivity from the limited buyer pool.

The focus on a small number of very credible and strategic trade buyers allowed significant resource to be directed at these buyers, such that timescales could be accelerated and value explained in a bespoke and comprehensive manner.

The resultant transaction was delivered in mid July 2011, less than six weeks after receiving the first indicative offer.

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What our client said
We completed within extremely tight timescales and on terms that represented a great deal both for Wolseley and the buyer. This was a direct result of the high levels of commitment shown and the quality of the separation plans that were delivered to the buyer. Matt Neville
Managing Director, Development Businesses, Wolseley UK