Dixons to sell Irish mobile business

Electrical goods group Dixons-Carphone has decided to pull out of the Irish mobile communications market and sell its stuttering iD Mobile arm.

The group is better known for its Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse retail chains. It launched iD Mobile two summers ago on the back of a €30m investment and targeted a 6% share of Ireland’s mobile market within five years.

However, despite heavy investment including €6m being spent on a data centre to support operations, the service has only picked up around 30,000 subscribers.

In Ireland, iD Mobile acts as a capacity mobile virtual network operator, meaning it uses an existing network — in this case that of Three Ireland — rather than building its own. It has a different operating model in the UK, where the service has an estimated 600,000-700,000 subscribers.

In its newly-published annual results presentation, Dixons-Carphone said it has decided to sell its mobile operations in the Republic, largely due to the need for upfront investment and the slow growth of the business.

“We believe the business will flourish faster under dedicated ownership,” the group said.

A spokesperson said the disposal process is at an early stage and no buyer for the Irish business has been identified as yet. When asked about the level of interest being show, they said it was “commercially sensitive information”.

On a group-wide basis, Dixons-Carphone reported a 9% jump in revenues, to £10.6bn (€12.1bn), for the 12 months to the end of April, with pre-tax profits up 10% to £501m. Its UK and Ireland retail division saw revenues increase 2% to £6.55bn and headline profits inch up to £385m.

The group is also active in the Nordic region and parts of southern Europe.

The group is the UK’s largest electrical goods retailer and said trading in its home market was holding up despite various surveys showing UK consumer confidence is plummeting as wage growth slows, sterling weakens, inflation rises and uncertainty mounts ahead of Brexit.

“Over the last few years a great deal of work has been done to make the company stronger, lower risk and more resilient. We are seeing the upside of these efforts now as we declare record headline profits before tax,” said Dixons-Carphone chief executive Seb James.

The group’s chief financial officer Humphrey Singer said its electricals business is “the general bellwether” of consumer confidence and it “continues to trade robustly”. Earlier this week, Debenhams issued a profit warning saying UK shoppers were reining in spending.


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