Ferguson unveils $1 billion buyback after annual profit jump

(Reuters) -Ferguson Plc announced a $1 billion share buyback on Tuesday as the U.S.-focused plumbing supplies provider reported a rise in annual profit buoyed by more spending on home improvement projects during the pandemic.

Although the pandemic drove strong interest for home renovation across many western markets as people stayed indoors, London-listed Ferguson said it expected demand to taper later this year.

Ferguson returned $1.4 billion to shareholders last financial year through dividends and share buybacks.

Analysts at Peel Hunt said in a note that the new share

buyback move underpinned the group’s confidence.

Ferguson said it was on track for a shareholder vote on its primary listing in the United States after making its New York Stock Exchange debut in March.

The company said underlying trading profit climbed 32% to $2.10 billion for the year ended July 31.

Revenue rose 14% to $22.79 billion, with the United States contributing more than 94%.

The FTSE 100 firm declared a final dividend of 166.5 cents per share, making it a 15% jump in the total dividend for the year.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich