Kingfisher to return capital to shareholders as profits riseTuesday 25 March 2014 13.32
Kingfisher, Europe's largest home improvements retailer, will return about £200m to shareholders in the current year after meeting forecasts with a 4.1% rise in 2013-14 profit.
The group runs B&Q in Ireland and the UK and trades as Castorama and Brico Depot in France.
It also said today it would look for a strategic partner for its loss-making B&Q China business, aiming to replicate the partner approach it adopted in Turkey.
"Looking ahead we are well placed to benefit from a pick-up in consumer spending as Europe's economies return to growth," said the company's chief executive Ian Cheshire.
Kingfisher made an underlying pretax profit of £744m in its 2013-14 year, on sales up 3.5% on a constant currency basis to £11.1 billion. Sales at stores open over a year rose 0.7%.
The profit outcome compared with analysts' forecasts in a range of £738-748m and £715m made in the 2012-13 year.
Kingfisher said that after a tough first quarter trading conditions improved through the year, with the exception of a persistent weak economic backdrop in France, its most profitable market. It still won market share in France, as it did in the UK and Poland.
The firm said it planned two new country entries in 2014-15 - two Brico Depot stores will open in Portugal and four Screwfix outlets will open in Germany with full next day national delivery.
It said the combined investment impact on 2014-15 profit would be a net charge of around £10m.
Kingfisher, which ended the year with net cash of £238m, is paying a year dividend of 9.9 pence, up 4.7%.
The said that the capital return in 2014-15 would be the first of a multi-year programme.