Wolseley, the world's biggest distributor of plumbing and heating products, said Tuesday it will explore "strategic options" for its French business amid difficult trading conditions in Europe.
"Wolseley's strategy is to focus on businesses where it can establish leading positions in attractive markets and consistently generate good returns for shareholders," the company said in an official statement.
"In this context, we have decided to explore strategic options for the future of our businesses in France."
The group was continuing to experience "difficult market conditions in continental Europe".
Wolseley said that its French business generated revenues of £1.3 billion in the group's financial year to the end of July 2011, and employed net assets of approximately £500 million.
It added: "In light of this review the appropriate carrying value of these assets will be assessed at year-end and this is likely to give rise to a non-cash impairment charge.
"This announcement is being made in order to enable us to commence consultation with our employees in France."