London, August 13 (Bloomberg) " Kingfisher, the third-largest home-improvement retailer, said it wil...
London, August 13 (Bloomberg) " Kingfisher, the third-largest home-improvement retailer, said it will raise £614m by selling and leasing back 182 properties, including Woolworths stores, to cut debt and expand overseas.
London & Regional Properties and Goldman Sachs' Group Whitehall Real Estate fund will pay £600m in cash on completion, with the balance payable in cash within five years. That's £19m more than the book value 3 February.
The owner of the Castorama and Darty chains in France and B&Q and Comet in the UK is focusing on home improvement and consumer electronics, which are growing faster than general retailing.
Kingfisher's shares rose 3.5p, or 0.9%, to 373.5p. They've lost 25% this year, compared with a 13% drop in the FTSE 100 Index.
The bulk of the property sale, directed through Kingfisher's retail-property subsidiary Chartwell Land, will be completed by 31 August, with the rest awaiting landlords' consents, it said. Kingfisher has about £1.04bn in debt outstanding, with £216m worth of bonds coming due this year and £431m next year, Bloomberg data show.
Standard & Poor's will decide in the next few weeks whether to keep or cut Kingfisher's current credit rating, which is 'A' for long-term debt with a 'negative'' outlook, and 'A-1' for commercial paper, the ratings agency said.
Candace Carpenter in the London Bloomberg newsroom
Price at 23/08/01 373p
52wk high 22/08/00 536p
52wk low 10/10/00 343.5p
Ytd change -124.75
1yr total return -26.75%
Market cap £5,203.35m
Est PEG 1.70
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