UPDATE 1-Britain's Travis Perkins to return cash to shareholders after plumbing exit

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LONDON, May 21 (Reuters) - Travis Perkins, Britain’s biggest seller of building materials, will return cash to shareholders after selling its plumbing and heating business to an affiliate of investment firm H.I.G. Capital for 325 million pounds ($461 million).

The group said on Friday it would return the net proceeds to shareholders through a combination of a 35 pence per share special dividend and a share buyback programme.

It said that alongside last month’s demerger of its Wickes home improvement business, the sale of plumbing and heating represents the completion of its plan to reduce the size of its portfolio, first outlined in 2018.

The deal is expected to be completed within the next three months.

“Looking forward, the group has a bright future as the leading provider of building products in the UK and we look forward to setting out our plans later in the summer to continue to drive growth,” said Travis Perkins CEO Nick Roberts.

Shares in Travis Perkins closed Thursday at 1,616 pence, valuing the group at 3.6 billion pounds.

$1 = 0.7043 pounds Reporting by James Davey; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and David Evans