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Pinault announces further refocusing with sale

PPR, the France-based luxury goods group owned by the Pinault family, announced 9 December that it is in exclusive talks to sell its furniture and electrical equipment retailer Conforama to Steinhoff International.

The deal would see South Africa-based Steinhoff pay €1.2 billion in cash for 100% of Conforama and would assume the net debt of the European company.

This deal is the latest in a series of asset sales initiated by second-generation family chairman Francois-Henri Pinault (pictured), who has been attempting to refocus the group on luxury since 2006.

Pinault said in a statement: "This planned cession to a global furniture sector player is a major strategic opportunity for Conforama. This proposed offer would reflect a strategic valuation recognising the true value of the company, its brand, and the work achieved by the team."

PPR said it expects the deal to be concluded in the next few weeks. 

The statement went on to say: "The disposal of Conforama would constitute a further step forward in the execution of a strategy pursued since 2006, designed to establish PPR as an international group of global brands within the luxury and sport & lifestyle sectors." 

Last year saw PPR sell assets such as its African distribution subsidiary group as part of the refocusing. (Continue reading here)

Quick to spot the recession, Pinault engaged in aggressive cost cutting measures that led to a workers' revolt over job cuts. However, his forward planning placed PPR well to weather the recession and the firm has faired considerably better than many of its rivals in the luxury goods industry.

PPR owns many high-end, luxury brands including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Sergio Rossi. The group was founded in 1963 by Francois-Henri's father, Francois Pinault, and had 2009 revenues of €16.5 billion.

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