Carphone guns for March 2010 demerger

Carphone Warehouse hopes to complete the demerger of its telecoms and retail businesses by next March, the group said today as it reported full-year figures in line with expectations, the Financial Times reports.

The group also held its final payout and announced it would have a lower dividend cover in the future.

Roger Taylor, chief financial officer, said the precise date for a demerger was dependent on authorisation from the Financial Services Authority based on either interim or full-year figures, according to the FT.

The group is finalising a new capital structure as it demerges the assets, but the principal stumbling block has been the renegotiation of Carphone’s £925 million credit facilities.

Investors were concerned an immediate break-up might result in more expensive terms with its banks, but Charles Dunstone, chief executive, said Carphone was close to finalising separate banking facilities.

Carphone agreed to pay £236 million for the UK assets of Tiscali, the ailing Italian ISP, becoming Britain’s second-largest broadband provider in the process.

Full-year figures were complicated by the sale of assets to create Best Buy Europe, Carphone’s retail joint venture with Best Buy, the US consumer electronics retailer, and the restatement of figures to account for a change in accounting of subscriber acquisition costs.

Revenue for the year to March 31 fell from £1.42 billion to £1.38 billion while pre-tax losses, after the amortisation of acquisition intangibles and exceptional items, was £72 million compared with £86m a year ago, according to the FT.