Kesa, who own the Comet retail chain have announced that they will sell the 249 commercial properties for only two pounds, due to the falls in the group’s revenues. However, Kesa will maintain legal responsibility for Comet’s pension scheme.
The joint buyers of Comet’s fleet of commercial properties are Hailey Acquisitions Limited and Hailey Holdings Ltd, which were backed by OpCapita, a private equity firm.
Speaking of the sale, David Newlands, Chairman of Kesa, expressed: “In June 2011, the Board decided to explore strategic alternatives for Comet in parallel with implementing the turnaround plan focused on restoring profitability at Comet over the medium term. The board believes that a disposal on the terms agreed with the purchasers is in the best interests of ordinary shareholders and delivers a more certain outcome than continuing with the turnaround plan.”
“The Board took into account: the ongoing negative impact of Comet on the financial position of the group; the significant challenge involved in achieving an acceptable level of profitability at Comet over the long term given the specific competitive nature of the UK market,” Mr Newlands added.
Between May to October of this year, comet’s revenues fell by 6.2 per cent despite the increase in web generated sales by 18 per cent. Thierry Falque-Pierrotin, Chief Executive, said: “The first half of the year has been challenging with weakening market conditions.”
To complete the sale, Kesa will invest £50 million into the deal in return for the pension scheme, which was worth £39.3 million in April of this year and had 5323 members (1355 pensioners and 3673 deferred members).
But will this high street chain survive the economic struggles? Or will we see the 249 commercial properties added the long and ever growing list of empty buildings? Like us, you will have to wait and see.
If You Can’t Beat Them In The Office… Surpass Them