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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 07:16 GMT 08:16 UK
Kesa makes market debut
Comet store, Hull
Kesa, formerly the electrical retail arm of home improvement giant Kingfisher, has taken its first steps as an independent stock market listed company.

Shares in the company, which owns the Comet electrical goods chain in the UK and the Darty chain in France, started changing hands at the bottom end of the expected 200 - 215p range in London on Monday.

By about 0715 GMT, Kesa shares had fallen to 197.5p.

Kesa's new beginning as a separate listed company comes after Kingfisher's plans to demerge its electrical goods business won the final approval of shareholders on Friday.

The move marked the final step in a strategic overhaul by Kingfisher aimed at re-focusing it exclusively on its home improvement retail operations, which include B&Q in the UK and Castorama in France.

Kesa's sales for the year to 1 February were more than 3.4bn, with retail profits of 193.3m.

The new company is led by British chairman David Newlands and French chief executive Jean-Noel Labroue.

Kesa has 790 stores in seven countries, but it will generate 75% of its profits in France.

But some analysts have raised fears that Kesa may struggle to find its feet mainly because of weak consumer confidence in France.

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