DIY retailer B&Q puts Irish operations into administration

DUBLIN Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:00pm EST

DUBLIN Jan 31 (Reuters) - The Irish operations of home improvements retailer B&Q were granted court protection on Thursday to allow for a restructuring aimed at stemming "unsustainable losses," the company said.

B&Q, a subsidiary of Europe's biggest home improvements retailer Kingfisher, was placed into examinership, a process akin to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States and administration in Britain, it said in a statement.

The chain will continue to operate its nine stores and its suppliers and 690 employees will continue to be paid, the company said. It said at least two stores will likely close.

"Losses in the Irish market can no longer be sustained by the company, and it is hoped that a restructuring via examinership will provide for the potential for survival of some part of the business," the statement said.

B&Q's Irish rival Atlantic Home Care, a subsidiary of Grafton Group, entered examinership last year after the collapse of the country's housing boom caused its revenue to fall by almost half.

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