Knight Vinke builds stake in Comet owner

The activist investor Knight Vinke has acquired a 3 per cent stake in Kesa Electricals, which owns the Comet chain in the UK.

Shares in Kesa soared by 6.10p, or 5.2 per cent, to 122.6p yesterday after the statement on Knight Vinke's purchase. The institutional investor has previously agitated for change at companies such as HSBC and Royal Dutch Shell, but is understood to have merely identified value in Kesa, which trades at nearly half the value of rival DSGi, the owner of Currys and PC World.

Knight Vinke first joined Kesa' share register around May before upping its stake in recent days.

Kesa, which operates the Darty chain in France, Italy and Turkey, last week posted a pre-tax profit of £69.6m for the 12 months to 30 April, following a hefty loss the previous year. In an attempt to drive further growth, Kesa said it would freshen up the Comet brand and refurbish 40 stores in the UK this year.

Comet, which has 248 stores, will also focus on driving further web sales and higher margin ranges, such as small domestic appliances and accessories. Both Kesa and Knight Vinke declined to comment yesterday.