Electronics retailer Kesa slumps into loss

7th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Kesa Electricals on Wednesday announced first-half net losses of 197 million euros ($265 million) after a slump in sales at its former British retail arm Comet.

Kesa, which runs the Darty retail chain in France, said the loss after tax for the six months to October 31 compared with a net profit of 19.6 million euros during the equivalent period in 2010.

Group revenues slid 7.6 percent to 2.57 billion euros.

"We have experienced weakening market conditions in the first half of the year," Kesa chief executive Thierry Falque-Pierrotin said in the group's earnings statement.

"This however has not prevented us continuing with the implementation of our strategic actions, which helped deliver overall market share gains particularly at Darty France."

He added: "We again delivered a strong performance in Belgium and ... we have seen an improving trend in Turkey, the Netherlands and Spain."

Kesa last month agreed to sell Comet for a nominal fee of £2.0 (2.3 euros, $3.2) to private investment firm OpCapita.

However it also agreed to inject £50 million into the business and retain responsibility for Comet's pension deficit of £46 million, before offloading the chain that runs 248 across Britain and employs 10,000 staff.

"Market conditions are becoming more challenging across all our markets," Kesa chairman David Newlands said in Wednesday's statement.

"I am pleased therefore that we have reached agreement for the disposal of Comet, subject to shareholder approval. The disposal is expected to improve significantly the group's financial strength and enables us to maintain an interim dividend of 2.25 (euro) cents per share."

© 2011 AFP

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