A chain of Austrian Baumax D-I-Y stores in the Czech Republic as well as Slovakia are reportedly to be bought by German competitor OBI. The story was reported by Czech Radio on Tuesday, citing the Austrian Press Agency (APA). According to Czech Radio, Baumax has suffered significant losses in recent years.
Austrian D-I-Y giant Baumax announced the sale of stores last year in Romania and Bulgaria, followed by Turkey, Croatia and Hungary. The firm’s eastern expansion apparently did the company little good, posting losses of almost 200 million euros in 2013 – the equivalent of more than five billion crowns. Originally, Czech Radio reported, the company wanted to unload only lossmaking outlets, but that appears to no longer be an option. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, 38 outlets are to be bought by OBI, if the deal goes ahead. Whether the retail chain stores will retain the Baumax name is unknown; company representatives declined to comment.
The Austrian firm is not the only one to wrap up business in the Czech Republic: recently SPAR sold its supermarkets to Dutch company Ahold, better known in the Czech Republic under the Albert brand. There has also been increased speculation about the fortunes of the British-owned Tesco department stores and food chains. According to Slovak daily SME, potential buyers could include Ahold, Penny, Billa, or even the US company Wallmart. There has also been speculation that Agrofert, the business empire owned by the country’s finance minister, could be interested.
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