PowerHouse sparks interest from potential buyers

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The Independent Online

The receivers for the electrical goods retailer PowerHouse said they had had "a number" of enquiries from parties interested in buying the business less than a week after it collapsed into administrative receivership.

Nick Dargan and Neville Kahn, the partners at Deloitte & Touche who were appointed as administrative receivers last week, said there were several initial enquiries "both in respect of the business as a going concern and for elements of the group's property portfolio".

PowerHouse's rivals - Curry's, which is part of Dixons, and Comet, which is owned by Kesa - would not, analysts believe, be interested in buying the entire business. But the pair would, they reckoned, be keen to snap up some of PowerHouse's individual stores while other well known high street retailers would undoubtedly be casting their eyes over the portfolio as well.

PowerHouse, which was forced to appoint administrators last week after rescue refinancing talks collapsed, has closed 93 of its 223 stores, axing 815 jobs in the process.

Mr Dargan said yesterday: "We are working with a number of parties who have expressed interest and are providing them with further financial information. During this period we are continuing to trade from the 130 stores that now form the core part of the business. It is hoped that the position will become clearer within the next seven days."

PowerHouse was created out of the retail arms of three old regional electricity groups - Midlands, Southern and Eastern. The Oxfordshire-based businessis said to have struggled to trade profitably this year. In its previous financial year, to the end of March, the company made a post-tax profit of £300,000 on sales of £384m.