Wickes happy to pay £7m cost of holding off Focus

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The Independent Online

Wickes, the do-it-yourself retailer, yesterday revealed that its robust defence against a bid from its rival Focus Do-It-All cost the company £7m.

Wickes, the do-it-yourself retailer, yesterday revealed that its robust defence against a bid from its rival Focus Do-It-All cost the company £7m.

The company defended the cost of seeing off FDIA, saying shareholders gave it a clear mandate. Bill Hoskins, finance director of Wickes, said: "The defence represents a cost of 9p a share. This is in line with what any company in any sector may pay." Earnings per share dipped to 6.8 per cent from 12.7 per cent a year ago as a result.

FDIA managed to attract only 35.6 per cent of acceptances from Wickes shareholders, despite raising its price from 375p to 430p a share. Wickes shares, which were as low as 221.5p in February, closed up 3.5p at 377.5p yesterday.

Bill Grimsey, Wickes chief executive, acknowledged other bidders may come forward."But we hope these improved results will be reflected in increased market value so if somebody else wants to bid for Wickes they will have to pay full value for it."

The DIY chain said yesterday that pre-tax profits surged 26 per cent to £13.3m for the six months to 29 June. Mr Grimsey said the group is on target for full-year profits of £28.5m, with like-for-like sales up 12.5 per cent at the beginning of the second half. Wickes shares have outperformed the retail sector by 50 per cent in the past eight months.

Mr Grimsey said he aims to enlarge the chain from 131 to 160 stores.

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