Advent agrees to sell stake in DFS for £90m

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Private equity firm Advent International ​has agreed to sell a 14.1​ per cent ​stake in sofa specialist DFS Furniture for ​£90m.

Advent agreed to sell 30.0 million shares to institutional investors, leaving the private equity firm with a 24.1​ per cent​ stake in DFS​.

The sale comes at a time of strong growth for the Doncaster-based furniture chain.

DFS announced record half-year results in the six months to January 30, reflecting growth initiatives and buoyancy in the furniture market.​ ​

The FTSE 250 firm said gross sales ​rose 7 per cent to £461.3m while earnings rose 12 per cent to £31m.

The group made a pre-tax profit of £16.2m compared with a £14.4m loss a year earlier when the group booked flotation and expansion costs.

“After the credit crunch, the market went backwards, but now we’re seeing steady growth. Consumer confidence is back to pre-credit crunch levels and we’re seeing growth of around three per cent,” said DFS chief executive Ian Filby.

He said that underlying like-for-like sales grew at four to five per cent.

DFS said it expects its sponsorship of Team GB at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will broaden its appeal as it attracts more upmarket shoppers.

With less than four months to go before the Olympics start on August 5, DFS said it sees significant potential to promote its brand with shoppers, leveraging the strong consumer appeal of Britain’s athletes. DFS has been named Team GB’s chosen official homeware partner for the 2016 Olympics.

“While we are, of course, proud to support our nation’s athletes as they seek to build on the success they saw in London 2012, we believe that we will derive real operational benefits from this investment,” said Mr Filby.

“We will be creating a home away from home for the British athletes in the Olympics village in Rio.”​