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Poundland fetches £597m in deal with South African firm

By Holly Williams

Discount chain Poundland - which has 30 stores in Northern Ireland - is to be snapped up by South African retailer Steinhoff International after agreeing a £597m takeover deal.

Poundland accepted the 222p-a-share bid after rejecting a cash offer from Steinhoff last month for an undisclosed sum.

The deal comes after Steinhoff -which owns UK furniture firm Harveys and Bensons For Beds - lost out in a battle with Sainsbury's to buy Argos owner Home Retail Group in March and was outbid for London-listed white goods retailer Darty.

The sale price, which also includes a 2p-a-share final dividend on top of the 220p-a-share bid, marks around a 40% premium to the value of Poundland's shares in mid-June.

It follows a hefty slump in Poundland's shares over the past year after tough trading and a difficult takeover of rival 99p Stores.

Annual results recently laid bare Poundland's sales woes as underlying pre-tax profits fell 13.5% to £37.8m in the year to March 27, while bottom-line pre-tax profits crashed 83.7% to £5.9m, including converted 99p Stores.

Steinhoff had already built up a 23.6% stake in Poundland in recent weeks as it stepped up its pursuit of the set-price retailer.

Darren Shapland, chairman of Poundland, said the deal gives investors an "opportunity to realise their shareholding at a certain and attractive price".

He said it achieved the share price value targeted under its turnaround plan earlier than could be expected "against a background of increasing economic uncertainty in the UK and a more challenging trading environment".

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