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Published on October 14th, 2013 | by The GC Team

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Dixon’s Unieuro and Marco Polo form new electrical retailer group for Italian market

Dixons Retail today announced that it has signed an agreement with the shareholders of SGM Distribuzione s.r.l (which trades as Marco Polo in Italy) to form a new entity called “NewCo” that will indirectly own both Unieuro S.p.A and Marco Polo.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dixons Retail will leave the business with €25m of cash and will invest up to €10m in the form of a loan note based on an expected closing date at the end of November 2013. Dixons Retail will own a 15% share in NewCo with the owners of Marco Polo holding the remaining 85% of the share capital. Rhône Capital is the controlling shareholder of Marco Polo.

The combined group will operate from 173 own stores as well as through a number of franchise partners.

For the year to April 2013 Dixon’s Unieuro generated losses before tax of £4.1 million on sales of £516.0 million and gross assets of £209.2 million. The transaction is expected to be accretive to underlying earnings for Dixons Retail in the current financial year.

Commenting on the transaction, Sebastian James, Dixon’s Group Chief Executive, said: “This is a terrific outcome for both Unieuro and Marco Polo, as it creates a unified force that has the potential to be at the forefront of electrical retailing in this large European market. I am pleased that we remain a shareholder and that this transaction gives clarity on the long-term future for the business and for our colleagues.

“For Dixons, this transaction follows our agreed disposals of ElectroWorld in Turkey and of PIXmania in France. Once completed, these changes will enable the Group to focus on those territories where we have market-leading multi-channel operations. I have no doubt that this increased simplicity and clarity will enable us to deploy our resources better and drive better value for all of our stakeholders.”

Giancarlo Nicosanti Monterastelli, CEO of Marco Polo said the agreement is the first stage of a long-term plan to create a leading integrated multi-channel retailer group in the Italian electrical market. It is designed, he said, “to achieve important benefits for customers, employees and suppliers. While market conditions in Italy remain challenging, the complementary channel strategy and store portfolios of the two companies will enable the new group to attract more customers across Italy and build long-term growth.”

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