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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September, 2003, 07:14 GMT 08:14 UK
B&Q owner builds profits
B&Q Warehouse store
Kingfisher, the DIY group which owns B&Q in the UK and Castorama in France, has reported better-than-expected half-year profits.

Profits before one-off items at Kingfisher's ongoing businesses rose 24% to 309m, comfortably beating analysts' forecasts.

The figure stripped out the performance of Kesa Electricals, the electrical retail group including the Comet chain, which Kingfisher spun off in July this year.

Kingfisher said the recent hot weather had slowed sales over the past few weeks, but added that this would not have a big impact on profits.

Investors welcomes the results, sending Kingfisher shares up 4p, or 1.4%, to 285p in early trade.

'Strong performance'

Across the whole Kingfisher group profits more than halved to 128m, but this included a 280m charge for the demerger of its electricals business.

Profits at its ongoing DIY business after exceptional items fell 6% to 231m, after allowing for further restructuring costs.

This included the sale of a number of businesses and the closure of the loss-making Castorama business in Germany.

Underlying sales at Kingfisher's home improvement division were up 5.5%.

"It was a good six months for Kingfisher, with a strong performance from our Home Improvement business," said chief executive Gerry Murphy.

"We demerged Kesa Electricals and we have almost completed our programme of withdrawal from non-core operations."

Fewer warranties for Comet

Meanwhile, Kesa Electricals - reporting its first set of results as an independent company - said its half-year profits before interest and tax rose 32.7% to 60m.

But it also said group retail profit was down 7.9% at 52.8m.

Kesa said that Comet had been losing sales of cheaper goods to the supermarkets, but it was gaining market share on sales of larger items.

It added that the negative publicity surrounding the Competition Commission's inquiry into extended warranties had hit sales in that area at Comet.




SEE ALSO:
Kesa makes market debut
07 Jul 03  |  Business
Comet demerger unveiled
17 Jun 03  |  Business
DIY boom boosts Kingfisher
04 Jun 03  |  Business


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