Kesa £250m in red after revamp

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The Independent Online

Kesa Electricals, the former owner of Comet, had a year to forget in 2011 after restructuring costs associated with the disposal of the struggling UK chain saw it post a calamitous loss of more than £250m.

Even Kesa's Darty chain in France, widely regarded as a success, also suffered, with profits down by more than a quarter, forcing the group to halve its total dividend.

Kesa sold Comet to OpCapita for £2 in February, including a £50m dowry it paid to the investment firm to take the 248-store chain off its hands.

Kesa's chief executive, Thierry Falque-Pierrotin, said "markets throughout Europe were exceptionally difficult in 2011-12".

Dixons Retail, Europe's largest electricals seller and the owner of the Currys chain, is expected to today post a 20 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £68m for the year to the end of April.

Kesa sank to a pre-tax loss of €313.9m (£253m) for the year to 30 April. Comet accounted for all the €274.2m losses from discontinued operations. Stripping out exceptional items, Kesa delivered underlying profits down by 42 per cent to £47.7m.