Sports Direct plans major investment in Ireland

heatonswomensAW_main_dbSports Direct International (SDI) announced this morning that the big British sporting goods retailer was considering acquiring a controlling stake in Warrnambool, the holding company behind Heatons, the Irish apparel chain. SDI is in negotiations with Sandra Minor, a minority investor in Warrnambool, to take over Minor’s shares which would allow SDI to own more than 50 percent of Warrnambool.

Additionally, the British group may seek an option agreement with the remaining shareholders to buy Warrnambool entirely. Heatons operates 44 outlets in the Republic of Ireland and ten more in Northern Ireland. 27 of the 44 stores in the Irish Republic incorporate a SportsWorld section while the Northern Irish stores include a Sports Direct department or are in direct neighborhood to a Sports Direct outlet. Warrnambool also operates five Sports Direct-branded stand-alone stores in Northern Ireland.

The deal with Sandra Minor and the other shareholders would be worth some €47.5 million. In its financial year 2014-15 which ended April 30, Warrnambool booked consolidated sales of €219.3 million. Earnings before interests, taxes and write-offs (Ebitda) were €17.2 million, pre-tax profit was €10.0 million.

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