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Shares in the plumbing and heating specialist formerly known as Wolseley hit their highest level since the financial crisis on Tuesday morning, after it announced a rebranding alongside plans to exit its struggling Nordic business.

The company, which is renaming itself Ferguson, also announced that chief operating officer Kevin Murphy will take over as chief executive after the retirement of Frank Roach in July.

Wolseley’s European operations have struggled in tough market conditions, but its US business – already named Ferguson – continued to report strong growth in the six months to January.

Shares in the group were up 7 per cent at publication time, to 5230p, their highest level since 2008. The rise put the company top of the FTSE 100 and Europe-wide Stoxx 600 indices.

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