Published on 14 - August - 2008
NWF renews focus with sale of garden centre divisionCentres being actively marketed to potential suitors with sale completion expected towards the end of the year
NWF has set the wheels in motion to sell its garden centre division and expects completion later this year.
"Following a review of the Garden Centre business the Board took the decision in the year to actively market the division to potential buyers," it said in its full-year statement.
"A full sale process is underway working alongside KPMG's experienced corporate finance team in Manchester."
Chief executive Richard Whiting said that the specialist distribution business plans to utilise the proceeds to strengthen the balance sheet after a year of 'challenge and transition' and concentrate on the potential in the other divisions: distribution, feeds,and fuels.
It listed the garden centres as a discontinued operation - and whose assets and liabilities at the year end are classified as being held for sale - in the results.
NWF went on to state four reasons for closure: rationalisation; 'historic low returns'; high levels of capital; and the opportunity to reduce the current high level of group debt.
The loss after tax for the division of £0.3 million compares to a profit after tax of £0.2 million in the prior year.
The group has six large garden centres: Rivendell and Woodford Park in Cheshire, Wheatcroft and Dukeries in Nottinghamshire, Victoria in Yorkshire and Ashton Park in Lancashire.
Estimates for the sales of the division are around £10m.
NWF saw its pre-tax profit from continuing operations, excluding garden centres, fall to £4.2m from £5.8m the previous year.
Turnover rose 20.8% to £361m.
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