Dixons agrees Pixmania sale

The electrical retailer will have to shell out 69m euros to persuade a German company to take the retailer off its hands - but it'll be worth it.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 17 Dec 2013
Dixons is about to rid itself of its albatross: the electrical retailer said this morning that it had received an offer for Pixmania, its loss-making digital business, from German industrial holding company Mutares AG.

It’s a pretty raw deal for Dixons shareholders, mind: under the terms of the offer, Dixons will provide 69m euros to ‘support’ Pixmania - meaning Dixons shareholders are taking a massive loss.

That said, Pixmania, which mainly operates in France and the Czech Republic, has acted as a drag on Dixons’ otherwise reasonably solid results almost since it paid £185m for the business back in 2006. In 2012, Pixmania lost £31m - and in its full-year results last year, Dixons took a £135m writedown on the value of the business. Ouch.

So chief executive Sebastian James can be forgiven for having a spring in his step at today’s AGM. The business announced like-for-like sales up 4% in its first quarter, with a 6% rise in the UK and Ireland, which James called ‘strong market share gains’. Presumably it was expecting that, considering that after the fall of Comet and its acquisition of Currys and PC World, Dixons is the UK’s last electrical retailer standing…

Nevertheless, although sales in northern Europe grew 5%, in southern Europe (Italy and Greece), they fell by 12% - although given the economic situation in that area, sales at most businesses are falling.

‘With this good start, I am excited about the rest of the year and about the future for a successful and simplified group,’ gushed James. We bet he is.
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