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Kingfisher willing to part company with Hornbach

Published: 19 September 2008
'It has to be an option, because it's not core', says Kingfisher chief executive.
Kingfisher willing to part company with Hornbach
Kingfisher's is willing to end its business relationship with German DIY group Hornbach Holdings if the price is right, Ian Cheshire told an assembled press corps yesterday.

Speaking at Kingfisher's interim results, the chief executive likened the possibility of selling its 21% stake in Hornbach to that of its EUR560m sale of its Castorama Italy business to Groupe Adeo SA.

Mr Cheshire told Reuters news agency: "It's a bit like Italy, if you thought there was a great value deal to be done you'd look at it."

He added: "It has to be an option, because it's not a core part."

The move is part of a Kingfisher's drive to cut its debt burden.

And Cheshire is reportedly keen to see some 'quick wins' across the board in the group's businesses including the supply base, and in product categories.

Hornbach

Kingfisher's interest in Hornbach started under the leadership of former chief executive Geoff Mulcahy, which at the time owned B&Q and Comet.

Mr Mulcahy – seen as something of a dealmaker – helped Kingfisher acquire a 21% stake in Hornbach Holdings for an undisclosed sum in 2001.

The German market is twice the size of the UK and the deal was seen at the time as a defensive move to block the US giant Home Depot.

Hornbach operates in nine countries across Europe and has 120 stores with garden centres; an average store is more than 107,639 sq ft (10,000sq m).

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