Court hears of investor interest in B&Q DIY chain

Tuesday 12 February 2013 16.27
The survival plan for the group includes the closure of two of its nine stores
The survival plan for the group includes the closure of two of its nine stores

Struggling DIY chain B&Q has had expressions of interest from four investors along with its parent company, the Commercial Court has heard.

The court has confirmed the appointment of an examiner to the chain following the appointment of an interim examiner last week.

The survival plan for the group includes the closure of two of its nine stores.

The outlets in Waterford and Athlone will close with the loss of 92 jobs.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told the chain's parent company Kingfisher is prepared to support B&Q throughout the examinership process and expressions of interest have been received from four other potential investors.

The judge said the application for the appointment of a full examiner was "both depressingly familiar and refreshingly different".

The familiar aspects were the chain was bedevilled by falling revenue of 32.4% in the past four years and blighted by extraordinary rents, which were estimated to be €5.8m above what current market rents ought to be.

What was refreshingly different was the company had no bank or revenue debts.

However, the judge said the company appeared to have a reasonable prospect of continuing to trade if a number of conditions were met, including store closures and cost-restructuring.

B&Q operates nine stores in the Republic of Ireland, employing 190 full-time staff and 500 part-time staff.

The court heard it has has debts of €17.3 million to Kingfisher.