Dixons moves into Europe with pounds 440m Norwegian buy

DIXONS GROUP, the electrical goods retailer that owns Currys, The Link and PC World, yesterday made its first move into continental Europe with a 5.7bn kroner (pounds 440m) acquisition of Elkjop, the Norwegian market leader.

John Clare, Dixons chief executive, described the deal as "a significant strategic step" and "a platform for growth". It is understood Dixons trumped an earlier pounds 350m offer from UK group Kingfisher.

Mr Clare said Dixons would focus on taking its computer retailing arm, PC World, to Scandinavia, and on strengthening the group's supply relationships across the region. Elkjop will continue its programme of increasing the number of its out-of-town stores.

There may also be opportunities to roll out Dixons' high-street brands and The Link mobile phone shops, said Mr Clare, although development plans for The Link would depend on what deals could be struck with Scandinavian mobile network providers.

The managements will also consider the enlarged group's position in Internet technology. Dixons owns Freeserve, andElkjop has a 22.5 per cent stake in Sense, a similar Internet service provider launched in Norway in August. Mr Clare said the groups will look at taking Freeserve's content partners to the Scandinavian market. Elkjop has a market share of about 12 per cent in Scandinavia, selling household appliances and consumer electronics from 154 stores.

Dixons will look at further opportunities to expand into Europe through acquisitions and joint ventures, but Mr Clare said targets would have to meet strict criteria: "They would have to be market dominant, with good management and prospects for growth." Major players in the French and German markets were "not available", he said. Elkjop was the largest company found so far which met Dixons' criteria.

The group said its move into Europe was not related to pressures in the UK market, including the arrival of Wal-Mart and the trend for supermarkets to sell electrical goods at discount prices. Mr Clare said: "These are separate challenges and opportunities that we are seeking to address."

The European retail industry is consolidating rapidly and UK companies are increasingly striking partnerships with foreign groups. Earlier this month Kingfisher bought Hugo van Praag, Belgium's second-largest electrical goods retailer. Sir Geoff Mulcahy, Kingfisher chief executive, last week said his company was aiming to make a German acquisition as part of its drive to boost its European presence.

Dixons yesterday built a 60 per cent stake in Elkjop, buying shares from management and some institutional investors. It offered 160 Norwegian crowns for each remaining share, a 7 per cent premium on Friday's price. The market reacted positively and Dixons' shares were up 61p at 1,341p yesterday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Beverley James: Accounts Payable

£22,000 - £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking for the opportunity to work...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower