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Wolseley offloads manufacturing businesses to Cinven

Cinven will pay up to £136.5m (E234.5m) for the businesses, which made operating profits of £23.2m on turnover of £262m in the year ended 31 July 1999, with operating assets of approximately £86m.

Wolseley Plc as a whole posted results at the top end of analysts expectations, with profits before tax up 9.2% on the year, on the back of growing sales in both Europe and the US.

According to its chief executive, John Young, the sale of most of Wolseley's underperforming manufacturing division reflects the company's desire to focus on its more profitable building distribution activities.

For Cinven, the deal is the third buyout it has led in 2000, following its acquisition of cinema chain Odeon (£280m) and Frans Bonhomme, a French distribution of PVC pipes and joints (£255), in February.