Kingfisher launches £2 billion rights issue

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The Independent Online

Retail giant Kingfisher today announced plans to launch a £2 billion rights issue in the City to help fund a radical overhaul of its business.

The group wants to demerge its electrical arm, which includes the Comet chain, to focus on building up its DIY business across Europe.

It intends to spend around £3.2bn to take full control of the French DIY group Castorama, in which it already has a 55 per cent stake.

Group chairman Francis Mackay said: "Our vision is to create two outstanding independent businesses in home improvement and electricals."

The restructuring follows the recent appointment of Mr Mackay and the decision to sell Superdrug and demerge Woolworths last year.

It will also mark the end of chief executive Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy's 20-year stint at the helm. Kingfisher confirmed it had now begun to look for a successor and expected an announcement in six months' time.

Sir Geoffrey recently moved from a two-year contract to a rolling 12-month deal and this is due to shrink to a rolling six-month contract in September.

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