UPDATE 1-Douglas CEO says may not pay dividend on books woes

Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:48am EDT

* Puts writedowns, provisions for Thalia at 170 mln eur

* Says restructuring will impact pretax profit

* Shareholders react angrily at meeting

By Matthias Inverardi

DUESSELDORF, Germany, March 21 (Reuters) - German books to perfumes retailer Douglas warned investors to brace themselves for a lack of dividend for the current financial year as it works on restructuring its bookstore chain, Thalia.

Chief Executive Henning Kreke said at the company's annual shareholders' meeting on Wednesday that fixing Thalia would mean the group making writedowns and provisions of around 170 million euros ($224.8 million) and hurt pretax profits this year.

Along with repositioning Thalia to better cope with competition from online players such as Amazon, the Kreke family is looking at ways to raise its Douglas stake and possibly take it private with the help of financial investors.

"We will only work with a financial partner if our interests can be aligned," Kreke said, adding that talks with private equity group BC Partners had taken place.

Douglas chairman Joern Kreke said that at a low share price there could even be a takeover offer for Douglas from a third party.

Henning Kreke and his father Joern own a combined 12.7 percent of the company. Analysts say the wider family, which includes the Ekloeh branch, hold about 30 percent in total.

Other big shareholders are family-owned food and shipping conglomerate Oetker with 26 percent, and drugstore owner Erwin Mueller with almost 11 percent.

Shareholders at the meeting reacted angrily to the recent events at the group, saying there was a conflict of interest at the top, given that Kreke family members control both the management and supervisory boards.

Representatives of shareholder organisations also called for clarity on the intentions of Mueller, saying they did not wish to be pawns in a power struggle between Mueller and the Kreke family, who are rivals in the drugstore business.

"There is nothing to say," Mueller said earlier on the sidelines of the meeting.

Douglas proposed a dividend of 1.10 euros for the financial year ended Sept 30, 2011.