B&Q firm increases profits by 3.4%

Home improvement retailer B&Q Ireland returned to break even in the second half of its latest financial year — less than 12 months after emerging from examinership — its parent company revealed yesterday.

In its annual 2013/14 accounts — covering the 12 months to the beginning of February — British DIY group, Kingfisher said its UK and Ireland operations, which include B&Q and the Screwfix builders’ merchants business in Britain, grew retail profit by 3.4% to £238m (€285m).

Total sales for the division — the group is also active in Europe and Asia — rose by 2.7% to just under £4.4bn. Total annual sales, for B&Q UK & Ireland, were up 0.4% to £3.7bn.

Regarding B&Q Ireland, specifically, Kingfisher said the business returned to break even in the second half of the financial year.

B&Q Ireland entered examinership at the beginning of 2013. However, it emerged from the process last May, with less than 50 jobs going and only one store closing; after Kingfisher launched a €2.4m rescue investment.

The Irish division closed the previous financial year with an €8.25m loss.

Kingfisher’s 2013/14 group results showed a 5.2% jump in annual revenues to over £11.1bn, a 4.1% jump in adjusted pre-tax profit to £744m, a near 5% rise in adjusted basic earnings per share to 23.4p, and a £200m increase in its net cash position, to £238m.

A 4.7% increase in the full-year dividend — to 9.9p — has also been proposed.

Group management also announced a multi-year capital return programme to shareholders, beginning in the current 2014/15 financial year, with a £200m windfall.

In terms of geographical growth, Kingfisher is also looking to add Germany and Portugal to its mainland European presence and wants a strategic partner for its B&Q China operation.

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