Welcome to Top Store

Best Products at Best Prices

0$0.00

No products in the cart.

Carpetright agrees £15m sale to main investor Meditor | Business

>

Carpetright has agreed a cut-price £15m sale to its biggest shareholder, saying its new owner would help it complete a turnaround plan in a “very challenging consumer market”.

Meditor, a British hedge fund headed by former Old Mutual banker and poker player Talal Shakerchi, is to take full control of Carpetright after buying nearly 30% of the company’s shares and more than £40m of its debts last year.

The company admitted it had little room for manoeuvre as the main debt owed to Meditor is due to be repaid on 31 December, followed by £25.7m in July 2020 in relation to a separate emergency loan also provided last year.

Meditor is offering investors just 5p a share, a significant discount to the 9p that Carpetright’s shares were trading at on the day before the Meditor offer was announced.

The deal comes at a difficult time for homeware retailers because of the slowdown in the housing market and low consumer confidence, which has held back spending on expensive items such as furniture.

Carpetright closed more than 90 showrooms as part of a rescue restructure last year and made a pre-tax loss of nearly £25m in the year to April. Aside from the market slowdown, the group has faced heavy competition from its loss-making rival Tapi, established by the Harris family that founded Carpetright.

Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst, said Shakerchi was “clearly gambling that he can drive Carpetright’s bitter rival – the loss-making Tapi – out of the market”.

On Friday, the South African retail group Steinhoff said it had sold its loss-making UK furnishings chains Harveys and Bensons for Beds for an undisclosed sum. The retailers, which trade from 269 stores and employ more than 2,700 people, made a combined operating loss of £24m in the six months to 31 March, on top of a £55m annual loss in 2018. Sales fell 8% over the six months, led by difficulties at the Harveys furniture business.

The sale by Steinhoff is the latest in a series of divestments since the company was hit by an accounting scandal that first emerged at the end of 2017. Steinhoff is also expected to offload Pepco Group, the owner of the UK’s Poundland chain.

A string of other retailers, including the card chain Clintons, the camera retailer Jessops, clothing group Bonmarché, and Regis, the owner of Supercuts hairdressing salons, are also undergoing emergency restructures.

Clintons is likely to decide next week on whether to launch an insolvency process known as a company voluntary arrangement, which would lead to the closure of 66 of its 332 stores. The company told landlords it could hold a vote on the process in early December.

Administrators for Bonmarché, the Wakefield-based chain that collapsed last month, are understood to be weighing up several potential offers for the 318-store group, with Edinburgh Woollen Mill, the former owner, expected to be among them.



Source link