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Wolseley and Walter Meier in Swiss merger

Walter Meier’s new distribution centre opened in Neblikon last year

SWITZERLAND: Wolseley has signed an agreement to merge Tobler, its Swiss plumbing and heating business, with Swiss HVAC distributor Walter Meier AG.

The proposed merger is subject to approval by Walter Meier’s shareholders, appropriate financing and Swiss competition clearance but, if completed, Wolseley would receive a cash consideration of CHF117.8m (€110m) and a 39.2% minority holding in the newly combined and enlarged business. Completion is expected in the second quarter of this year.

Founded in 1937, Walter Meier’s product range includes Carrier chillers and Mitsubishi Electric air conditioning. It operates eight offices and sales outlets, 13 trade counters and 50 service centres. It generated sales of CHF239.6m (€225m) in 2016.

Tobler generated sales of around CHF330m (€310m) in the last financial year.

The new business will be led by Walter Meier CEO Martin Kaufmann, with Tobler CEO Arnold Marty, becoming deputy CEO and leading the sales, product management and marketing departments. Tobler Group CFO Andreas Ronchetti becomes CFO of the new company.

It is proposed that Simon Oakland and Heinz Wiedmer will join the board as representatives of the Wolseley Group.

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