UK retailer JD Sports offloads rugby brand Canterbury in debt-only deal

British sports and fashion retailer JD Sports Fashion Plc (LON:JD) said on Thursday it had agreed to sell New Zealand-based rugby brand owner Canterbury Ltd to JD’s majority shareholder Pentland Group Plc for about GBP22.7m (USD36.1m/EUR28.7m).

As part of the deal, Pentland will pay a nominal price of GBP1.00 for Canterbury’s shares while the balance will cover the business’ debt. The transaction is pending stockholder clearance.

JD has decided to sell this business as it wants to pay more attention to its retail activities, as only a small portion of Canterbury’s products are presently sold via the group’s retail fascias. In addition, most of the business’ revenue and earnings are generated in New Zealand and Australia, where JD has limited operations. The company intends to use the sale proceeds to support further investment in its core retail activities and for working capital purposes.

In a separate transaction, JD will purchase the ONETrueSaxon brand from Pentland for GBP50,000 as part of its strategy to buy intellectual property assets that could support its core retail proposition.

Canterbury was founded in New Zealand in 1904 with the aim of producing rugby jerseys and was acquired by JD in August 2009. For the 52 weeks to 28 January 2012, the business recorded a consolidated operating profit of GBP400,000 and pre-tax loss of GBP1.1m. At the same date it had gross assets of GBP32.6m.

Germany’s ThyssenKrupp in talks to sell blanks unit to China’s Wuhan Iron

German steel group ThyssenKrupp AG (ETR:TKA) is nearing an agreement on the sale of its Tailored Blanks business to Chinese iron and steel products maker Wuhan Iron and Steel Co Ltd (SHA:600005), according to sources cited by the Financial Times Deutschland.

ThyssenKrupp, which is undergoing a restructuring aimed at reducing debt, said on 10 August it was in advanced negotiations to dispose of the unit. The group’s chief financial officer Guido Kerkhoff told analysts then that it would not take long until an agreement was reached.

ThyssenKrupp Tailored Blanks makes laser-welded blanks for the car sector. Based in Germany, the division has a global network of 13 plants in seven countries.

With a 41% share of the global sector market, ThyssenKrupp Tailored Blanks generates annual revenues of EUR700m (USD878m) and has 900 employees, Reuters said.

ThyssenKrupp plans to sell non-core operations with combined revenues of EUR10bn.
The group has recently signed an agreement to dispose of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG’s Construction Group to Irish Kingspan Group plc (LON:KGP) as part of efforts to optimise its portfolio, it has said.

In line with the same efforts, the steel giant is also looking into the possibility of selling Berco, its Italian supplier of undercarriages for construction equipment, it said.

Its strategic development programme advanced in the third quarter, with 90% of its planned disposals being completed or signed by the end of that period, ThyssenKrupp said.

The company is present in some 80 countries globally, employing a workforce of 170,000 worldwide.

Possible buyers walk away from a deal to buy RWE’s stake in Suewag

German power and gas utility RWE (AG ETR:RWE) said talks over the sale of its 77.6% in utility unit Suewag to consortium of regional utilities had failed to lead to an agreement, due to differences on pricing, but it remained open to negotiate a deal with interested parties.

Regional utilities EVM and Stadtwerke Frankfurt am Main Holding GmbH, part of the bidding consortium, said in a statement that the group is not planning to continue negotiations with RWE.

RWE’s stake in the utility unit Suewag has been valued at between EUR700m (USD873m) and EUR800m by analysts cited by Reuters.
The German group is still aiming to dispose of up to EUR7bn worth of asset by the end of next year, it said.

It has so far disposed of 19.3% in regional utility VSE in a EUR83m deal and came near to selling its 24.95% in water utility Berlinwasser for EUR618m, Reuters said.

RWE is still planning to shed Suewag, its oil and gas exploration business DEA, Czech gas transmission firm NET4GAS and its stake in regional utility Kevag.

Last week, the company said it would cut 2,400 more jobs, apart from the initially announced 8,000 job cuts.

The utility, along with other German sector players, is striving to cope with the country’s decision to phase out nuclear power by selling assets and reducing costs.