(Corrects last paragraph to show Tengelmann's CEO said he would
be interested in buying individual stores just not Praktiker as
FRANKFURT, July 12 German home improvement
retailer Praktiker's insolvency prompted speculation
on Friday that its outlets may be sold to rivals seeking market
share in Europe's biggest economy, such as Kingfisher or
Praktiker, Germany's third-biggest home
improvement store chain and a household name in the country,
filed for insolvency on Thursday after talks with creditors
failed, sending its shares into freefall and triggering fears of
heavy job losses.
German daily Boersen-Zeitung said on Friday that Britain's
Kingfisher, Europe's biggest do-it-yourself retailer, was
interested in parts of Praktiker, without saying where it got
Kingfisher, which is already invested in the German home
improvement market via a stake in Hornbach, declined
to comment on Thursday whether it was interested in buying any
of Praktiker's outlets.
Meanwhile, Handelsblatt Online quoted the chief of smaller
rival Hagebau as saying it could buy some Praktiker stores.
"We are interested in principle," Handelsblatt Online quoted
Heribert Gondert as saying.
Praktiker's shares were up 12.3 percent to 0.146 euros by
0825 GMT on Friday, after losing 65 percent of their value on
The company was once worth almost 2 billion euros ($2.6
billion), but as its performance slipped in the economic
downturn, its market capitalisation has shrunk to only about 15
million euros now.
A Hamburg court on Thursday named lawyer Christopher Seagon
as preliminary insolvency administrator, putting him in charge
of drawing up a restructuring plan for Praktiker.
With annual sales of about 3 billion euros, Praktiker is
Germany's third biggest home improvement store chain after OBI
and Bauhaus and ahead of Hornbach.
Industry leader OBI is not interested in buying Praktiker as
a whole but would consider snapping up individual stores, parent
company Tengelmann's chief Karl-Erivan Haub said on Thursday.
($1 = 0.7668 euros)
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Additional reporting by Neil
Maidment and Alexander Huebner; Editing by Mark Potter)