Kesa mulls move to quit London listing

KESA Electricals is considering quitting the London Stock Exchange in favour of a Paris listing once it has sold its troubled Comet business.

Moving the group to France would help it to avoid constant comparisons with Britain’s retail sector, a shift some major shareholders would view as beneficial.

It could also change its name to Darty, after its stellar European brand, in an attempt to revive its fortunes, but this is not thought to be a priority.

Kesa’s directors have already looked at moving the listing to France, which was suggested earlier this year by activist shareholder Knight Vinke, but no decision has been made.

In the meantime it is pushing ahead with a revamp of Comet, which has seen sales tumble and its performance described as “neither satisfactory nor acceptable” by Kesa chairman David Newlands.

Kesa, which yesterday declined to comment, had hoped to auction off Comet but its plans have been hit by poor results and concerns over its pension pot and property commitments.

Directors are, however, still considering a sale of Comet and have reportedly held discussions with private equity house OpCapita and restructuring and buyout group Hilco. Kesa may retain a stake in Comet if a deal goes through.

Yesterday Kesa chief executive Thierry Falque-Pierrotin told a Sunday newspaper: “we have not given up on the UK”.

Last month Comet said first quarter sales at stores open over a year had slumped 22.1 per cent, partially driven by a comparison with the World Cup year of 2010.