Kingfisher sells retailing subsidiaries

In addition, Kingfisher is supporting the immediate working capital requirements of the business with a cash contribution of Euro 55 million. It is also making available a repayable working capital loan facility (on normal commercial terms) for up to Euro 32.5 million to cover peak seasonal requirements, namely the periods August 2003 to January 2004 and August 2004 to January 2005. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of February. The sale includes 92 ProMarkt electrical stores in Germany and Austria together with a chain of 93 Foto-Radio Wegert photographic stores, a photographic processing laboratory and the ProMarkt online business. The transaction will result in a non-operating exceptional loss on disposal of around £ 190 million based on ProMarkt‘s net book value. Kingfisher had purchased the German ProMarkt and Foto Wegert retailing stores in several steps between 1998 and 2000 for a total cumulative cost of just under £ 111 million. Separately, Kingfisher plc has announced that its specialist retail property company Chartwell Land has sold 15 retail parks plus a further 5 retail parks under development to a consortium composed of Pillar Property plc, Hercules Unit Trust, the Junction Limited Partnership and Morley Fund Management for £ 695 million payable in cash on completion. According to a press release, the sale of the portfolio, which is projected to have a book value of £ 557 million on completion with an annual rental income of £ 31 million, will generate an estimated exceptional pre-tax profit of £ 120 million after associated transaction and restructuring costs of around £ 18 million. Kingfisher claims to be Europe’s leading home improvement retailer and operates more than 600 home improvement stores in 12 countries with market-leading positions in the UK, France, Poland and Taiwan. Sales for the Home Improvement sector for the year to February 2, 2002, were more than £ 5.8 billion, with a retail profit in excess of £ 430 million. Kingfisher has also a strategic alliance with Hornbach, Germany’s leading big box home improvement retailer, which operates 99 stores across Europe.