David Newlands is to step down as Chairman of European electrical goods retailer Kesa Electricals to be succeeded by the group's Senior Independent Director, Alan Parker.
The news came as the group slashed its dividend following a sharp decline in profits in a year in which it disposed of its Comet retail chain for just £2 - and even then it had to pump in £30m of cash to persuade turnaround specialist OpCapita to take it off its hands.
In the 12 months to April 30th, adjusted profit before tax slumped to €59.0m from €102.4m the year before. With the adjustments stripped out, the group made a loss before tax of €17.0m on a reported basis, versus a profit of €85.6m the year before.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
Retail profit tumbled to €70.1m from €117.3m on sales that eased to €4,025.7m from €4,108.5m. Darty France, the core part of the group since the sale of Comet, saw revenue fall 4.2% to €2,799m from €2,921m the previous year, with like-for-like sales down 5.8%. Darty France's profits dropped 28.4% to €106.8m from €149.2m the year before.
Exceptional impairment and restructuring charges in the continuing group of €70.5m and a loss from discontinued operations of €274.2m resulted in a total loss for the year of €313.9m (2011: profit of €30.7m).
Adjusted earnings per share more than halved to 6.2 cents from 12.6 cents while the full year dividend has been chopped - or "rebased" in management-speak - to 3.5 cents from 7.0 cents the year before. The board intends to resume a progressive dividend policy as soon as the results and cash position justify doing so, Newlands said.
The growth in online sales was a rare bright spot for the group, as purchases made via the web grew by 160% from the preceding year, but this was from a small base, and web-generated sales barely account for more than 2% of group sales.
Net debt at the end of the reporting period had risen to €126.5m from €121.0m the year before.
"The market across Europe is expected to remain tough, but we will benefit from the strength of our service led positioning, cross channel approach and improving operational efficiency," maintained Thierry Falque-Pierrotin, Chief Executive of Kesa.
Millions of mortgage borrowers will be hit with higher repayments next year
News Higher interest rates are yet to fully hit households and monthly mortgage repayments will rise between £200 and £1,000 – how much will your home loan go up by?
By Marc Shoffman Published
Halifax: House prices rise for the second consecutive month
UK house prices rose again in November, suggesting a resilient property market amid economic turmoil in the past year- are we heading for a crash?
By Vaishali Varu Published