(Adds detail, background, CEO comment)
LONDON, April 29 Carphone Warehouse,
Europe's biggest independent mobile phone retailer currently in
merger talks with Dixons Retail, reiterated full-year
earnings guidance and posted a rise in fourth quarter revenue at
its main CPW business.
The firm's trading statement on Tuesday made no mention of
the talks with Dixons, Europe's No. 2 electricals retailer, for
a possible 4 billion pounds ($6.72 billion) merger.
Britain's Takeover Panel has imposed a May 19 deadline for
the two firms to confirm whether they intend to press ahead with
a deal that would create a group with about 2,900 stores across
Europe and which would likely find a place in Britain's FTSE 100
"We'll update the market in due course," Carphone CEO Andrew
Harrison told Reuters, declining to elaborate on the progress of
the talks, which were revealed to the market on Feb. 24.
Carphone's shares are up 13.9 percent over the last three
months, while Dixons' are up 2.4 percent.
Carphone said revenue at CPW Group stores open over a year
rose 2.3 percent in the three months to March 29, a seventh
straight quarter of like-for-like growth, helped by growing
sales of 4G superfast mobile broadband products.
That compares to third quarter like-for-like growth of 3.1
CPW's like-for-like revenue was up about 4 percent in the UK
and flat in Europe.
However, the firm said revenue at its Virgin Mobile France
joint venture fell 8.6 percent, reflecting continued competitive
activity in the French market. The joint venture's postpay base
of 1.3 million customers was down 17,000.
Carphone reiterated its full-year guidance for headline
earnings per share of 17-20 pence, up from 12.3 pence in the
It narrowed guidance for CPW's pro-forma headline earnings
before interest and tax (EBIT), forecasting 145-155 million
pounds compared to 140-160 million pounds previously.
Aside from the possibility of combining with Dixons,
Carphone is increasing its scale through partnerships.
In the Netherlands it is rolling out a store-within-a-store
format through a deal with Media-Markt Saturn and is in talks
with Metro Group regarding a similar deal in Germany.
It has also opened 31 Samsung stores in seven
countries through a deal with the South Korean firm.
Shares in Carphone, up 60 percent over the last year, were
down 0.5 percent at 307 pence at 0737 GMT, valuing the business
at 1.77 billion pounds.
($1 = 0.5950 British Pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)