RMC considers selling Great Mills DIY chain

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The Independent Online

RMC, the building materials group undergoing a price-fixing inquiry in Germany, is believed to be moving closer to selling its Great Mills DIY chain.

Reporting full-year results yesterday, Peter Young, chief executive, said the 95-store DIY business "is not a core part of what we do". RMC had been approached by interested buyers, he said. The move would allow RMC to focus on its core business of supplying of heavy building materials to the international construction industry.

Industry sources pointed to Home Depot of the US as a possible buyer.Analysts estimate the business will fetch £250m to £350m.

Mr Young, who retires this year, to be replaced by his deputy Stuart Walker, said the latest raid by German anti-cartel officials was a complete surprise.This week three RMC businesses in the south-west of Germany were raided. RMC was fined £34m last year after a similar raid on its units in another part of Germany.

RMC reported group pre-tax profit for 1999 up 15 per cent to £304.5m, before exceptionals, on turnover of £4.7bn, up from £4.41bn in 1998. The company's shares closed up 88.5p at 848.5p.

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