- Plumbing and heating products group Ferguson announced a $500m share buyback programme as revenue grew 6% in the fiscal third quarter.

'Given our strong financial position, and in line with our capital allocation policy, we are initiating a $500 million share buy back programme which we expect to complete over the next 12 months,' the company said.

For the 3 months to 30 April, trading profit rose 2.3% to $359m and revenue increased 6.2% to $5.27bn.

Gross margins continued to improve, up 20 basis points to 29.5% and operating costs were well controlled, the company said.

The US business, which accounted for the bulk of overall growth, grew revenue 3.3% on an organic basis with acquisitions contributing a further 5.1%. In line with its guidance at the half year, the company saw the overall market environment moderated to low growth.

The company expected trading profit to meet analysts' consensus for 2019 of about $1,585m (ranging from $1,570m to $1,597m).

'Cash generation continued to be excellent and our balance sheet remains strong. We will continue to invest organically in our businesses supplemented by bolt-on acquisitions in our core operations, the company said.

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