Wesfarmers bail on 'disappointing' UK ventures

Wesfarmers bail on 'disappointing' UK ventures

Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) will end its foray in the UK after just two years, due to continued disappointing results in the market.

The company has sold its Homebase brand as well as 24 Bunnings UK assets to a company associated with English investor Hilco Capital.

Wesfarmers expects to record a loss of between $323 million and $406 million on the disposal of Bunnings UK.

When Wesfarmers first entered the UK market in 2016, it acquired Homebase for $705 million and then proceeded to open a collection of Bunnings outlets.

The entire chain has underperformed ever since its acquisition and Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott admitted the investment has been a disappointing one.

"A divestment is in the best interests of Wesfarmers' shareholders," says Scott.

"The investment has been disappointing, with the problems arising from poor execution post-acquisition."

With staff restructuring having occurred just two months ago, Scott acknowledged the business has improved since Peter Davis took the lead.

The company's UK operations were largely responsible for write-downs of $1.3 billion in the company's first half.

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