MELBOURNE, April 28 (Reuters) - Australia’s top retailer, Woolworths Ltd (WOW.AX), is still keen to bid for New Zealand’s Warehouse Group (WHS.NZ) even though Warehouse’s financial position has worsened since Woolworths first made an offer, a newspaper reported on Monday.
“We’re hoping to buy a business we think we can improve -- everything is fixable,” Woolworths chief executive Michael Luscombe was quoted telling the Australian Financial Review.
Woolworths is counting on the New Zealand Court of Appeal upholding a High Court decision to allow rival NZ$2 billion bids by Woolworths and Foodstuffs for Warehouse to go ahead, against a move by the New Zealand Commerce Commission to block the bids.
The court is due to start hearing the case on Monday.
Without citing any sources, the newspaper said Woolworths was believed to be reviewing the value of its original NZ$7.15 a share proposal following a steep fall in retailer earnings multiples and a downturn in retail spending in New Zealand over the past few months.
The report said Woolworths had secured A$1.8 billion ($1 billion) in funding to proceed with an acquisition and had also won the blessing of Warehouse founder and major shareholder Stephen Tindall, who holds a 51 percent stake.
Warehouse shares last traded at NZ$5.95, down from the NZ$6.50 a share price Woolworths paid to buy a 10 percent stake in September 2006. ($1=NZ$1.28) (Reporting by Sonali Paul)