Jul 13, 2016
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Steinhoff agrees $794 million takeover of UK's Poundland

Jul 13, 2016

South Africa's Steinhoff will strengthen its presence in the British retail sector after agreeing a 597 million pound ($794 million) takeover of discount chain Poundland, it said on Wednesday.

Steinhoff, which already owns the Bensons Beds and Harvey's furniture chains in Britain, lost out in two other takeovers in Europe this year. It failed to secure Britain's Home Retail, which owns Argos, and was unsuccessful in a bid for Darty in France.

It is the biggest takeover of a listed British company since a vote on June 23 to leave the European Union.

The South African group already owns 23.6 percent of Poundland, which in the UK sells everything for a pound.

Poundland listed at 300 pence in 2014. But its shares have lost 42 percent of their value over the last year, hit by subdued trading, adverse currency moves and the distraction of integrating the 99p Stores chain it bought for 55 million pounds last year.

Last month Poundland reported a 13.5 percent fall in full-year profit.

Poundland's board has recommended Steinhoff's offer that will see it pay 222 pence in cash for each Poundland share.

Its shares were up 12.2 percent at 219.8 pence at 0708 GMT.

The offer comprises an offer price of 220 pence for each Poundland share as well as a final dividend of 2 pence per share.

The price represents a premium of 39 percent to Poundland's share price on June 13 -- the last day prior to the first purchase of Poundland shares by Steinhoff.

"Steinhoff is developing a fast-growing, price-led retail business across the UK and the rest of Europe. Poundland would be a complementary fit to this growth story," said Steinhoff Chief Executive Markus Jooste.

Britain's vote to leave the EU has sent the pound to its lowest level versus the U.S. dollar in three decades.

Analysts said weaker sterling, Poundland's lower share price and a subdued economic outlook for the UK made the retailer's valuation more enticing.


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