Kirkham to raise pounds 60m in share sale
Former high-street salesman reaps handsome reward for his one- man furniture venture
Thursday 19 October 1995
Mr Kirkham said the share sale came in response to repeated phone calls from institutions anxious to buy shares in what is a very tight market. Ever jokey and amiable, he admitted, that his motives were not completely altruistic - he wouldn't be sorry to accept the money.
The proceeds of the share sale will bolster the pounds 130m he took away from DFS's 1993 flotation, when he sold 48 per cent of the family-owned business. Even after the disposal, Mr Kirkham will retain a stake of about 35 per cent in the furniture retailer, worth more than pounds 100m at yesterday's closing price of 345p.
News of the share sale accompanied strong full-year profit figures for the 12 months to July and a special 10p dividend to shareholders to reduce the company's fast growing cash pile. Pre-tax profits jumped 23 per cent to pounds 26.23m despite flagging consumer demand and a moribund housing market, normally a prerequisite for growing sales of household goods.
Even before the special payout, the underlying dividend growth was a healthy 15 per cent from 7.2p a share to 8.3p.
A keen collector, Mr Kirkham agreed the art market would welcome his decision to release another slice of his considerable wealth. He remains resolutely unimpressed by money, keeping a substantial art and antiques collection in a beautiful Georgian mansion, Cantley Hall, where he occasionally entertains, but chooses to live in an unassuming four-bedroom modern house a few miles away.
Mr Kirkham remained tight-lipped about his plans for the pounds 60m, but he dismissed suggestions that he would dilute his interest in DFS by sinking the money into yachts or football clubs - "DFS is not a job, it's a way of life" - and laughed off suggestions that he would repeat a recent multi- million pound loan to the Tory party.
After a year during which the company paused for breath, opening just one new outlet at the end of the financial period, DFS also announced an ambitious expansion programme and a move out of its Midlands and Northern heartland into southern England.
Six new openings are planned both this year and next and a target of 100 shops compares with 32 now. Despite the growth plans analysts believed more special dividends were likely in future years as the company continued to throw off more cash than it could spend opening new shops.
Mr Kirkham's proposed share sale is the latest reward for the former salesman at Hardys, a high-street furniture chain that became part of Harris Queensway. Impatient with working for someone else, he struck out in 1969 and set up DFS. The model of vertical integration, DFS made its own furniture upstairs, bringing it down to the showroom. Mr Kirkham was delivery man, salesman and accountant; he even cut the material.
Investment column, page 24
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Stephen Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli air strike destroys home for the disabled killing two women residents
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli PM says conflict may 'continue for a long time' as hundreds of Palestinians flee their homes
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
iJobs Money & Business
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...