Australian Wesfarmers’ UK retail chain acquisition falls below expectations

A shopper selects wood products at a Wesfarmers Ltd. Bunnings Warehouse store in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, July 28, 2011. Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg

Wesfarmers Ltd.’s attempt to replicate its dominance of Australia’s home improvement market in the U.K. has flopped, with the company announcing a more than A$1 billion ($791 million) charge on its two-year-old acquisition of the Homebase chain.

Australia’s do-it-yourself market leader said Monday it will write down goodwill and stock and take a charge for store closures on the Home Retail Group Plc chain it bought for 340 million pounds ($480 million) in January 2016. It expects the U.K. unit to post a 97 million pound first-half underlying loss when it reports later this month.

The nation’s largest private employer is also facing troubles at home, writing down the value of its discount chain Target by A$306 million, blaming difficult trading conditions in an increasingly competitive market.

“The Homebase acquisition has been below our expectations which is obviously disappointing,” Managing Director Rob Scott said in a statement. “We need to address underperformance in our portfolio that is detracting from positive performance in other areas.”

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Bloomberg

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.