Kingfisher agrees to sale, leaseback of DC
Kingfisher, British parent of B&Q and Castorama retail home improvement stores, has agreed to a 73 million pound (US$148 million) property sale and leaseback of its 875,000-square-foot national distribution center in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.
The deal, with Mutual Finance, will allow the DC to be leased back at an open market rent, the company said. The company will receive a pre-tax gain of 40 million pounds (US$81.2 million).
Kingfisher will use the proceeds to repay existing debt and invest in its worldwide store opening plans.
“This is consistent with our policy of recycling property when economically attractive, with the aim of creating value for shareholders,” said Duncan Tatton-Brown, group finance director for Kingfisher.
Home Depot buyers accused of kickbacks
A kickback scandal involving four Home Depot buyers was reported last night by CBS News. According to the report, the purchasing managers accepted “enormous sums,” totaling millions of dollars, to ensure that certain flooring products were sold in Home Depot stores.
One source told CBS News that Frank Blake, the company’s president and CEO, immediately terminated the four employees when he learned of the arrangement. The firings took place at a meeting in an Atlanta hotel, the story said.
The FBI is reportedly investigating the allegations. Phone calls to the Atlanta FBI field office were not immediately returned.
In a prepared statement released to HCN, Home Depot confirmed the firings but said the company could not provide further details at this time.
“The Home Depot has terminated four merchandising associates for infractions of our ethical standards,” the statement said. “We’re cooperating with authorities and because this matter is under investigation, we can’t comment further on the specifics. It is important to note that this matter does not have a material effect on our consolidated financial conditions or results of operations. Maintaining our ethical standards is of utmost importance to The Home Depot and is something we enforce strongly.”
Bosch participates in National Clean Air Green Tour
Bosch home appliances, maker of numerous Energy Star-rated appliances, will team up with Southwest Airlines, non-profit clean energy organization Balanced Energy and producers of ethanol fuel on the 2007 National Clean Air Green Tour.
The five-month campaign kicked off in late July in Chicago and will tour through 47 states to promote global climate change awareness. The tour will include a stop at the Solar Power Conference in Long Beach, Calif., in September, and will conclude in Key West, Fla., in December.
The tour includes a 40-foot bio-diesel motor coach, equipped with solar power capabilities and outfitted with Bosch’s energy efficient home appliances, including a refrigerator, tankless water heater, wall oven, dishwasher, laundry and microwave.
Bosch home appliances is part of BSH Home Appliances Corp., a fully owned subsidiary of BSH Bosch und Siemens HausgerSte GmbH.