Carphone hits forecasts as it lets US go

Steve Dinneen
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CARPHONE Warehouse yesterday confirmed it has offloaded its US joint venture for $1.3bn (£810m).

The sale of the blisteringly successful mobile phone business to its partner Best Buy was tinged with regret over the failure of its UK “Big Box” joint venture. It confirmed the long expected shuttering of its 11 white goods stores after it posted another quarter of worse-than-expected losses.

Overall the firm posted revenues of £1.59bn, down 4.9 per cent year-on-year as the slowdown in the consumer electronics market and the failure of Best Buy UK took its toll. Pre-tax profits were £8.3m, compared to £51.2m last year.

The results were broadly in line with analyst expectations, with the US deal sending its shares up as much as 10 per cent before settling back to close up one per cent.

The proceeds of the US sale will be returned to shareholders, with founder Charles Dunstone set for a payout of around £235m from his 29 per cent stake in the firm.

Carphone said it will maintain its relationship with Best Buy, and will launch a new mobile venture catering for emerging markets. Chief executive Roger Taylor said: “The sale of our interest in Best Buy Mobile crystallises significant value for our shareholders. In addition, the agreement is a low risk opportunity to recreate the success of Best Buy Mobile and roll out our strategy into high growth emerging markets.”