International News - Vendex suitors vow to keep group intact

The private equity consortium edging closer to owning Dutch conglomerate Royal Vendex has ruled out an immediate auction of the group's disparate retail interests.

Change Capital Partners managing director Steve Petrow said: 'We are definitely not going to break it up. This is not about buying it and breaking it up tomorrow.' Change Capital is chaired by M&S's Luc Vandevelde.

A consortium made up of Change Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and AlpInvest Partners launched a formal EUR15.40 (£10.29) per share offer last week. Petrow views it as a five- to seven-year investment, with 'significant operating improvement potential'.

Vendex operates 15 businesses, ranging from struggling V&D department stores to top Belgian DIY chain Brico. 'Basic retail improvements will be at the core of what we do,' Petrow added.

Vendex posted flat first- quarter net sales of EUR1 billion (£668.1 million).

A strong performance in DIY was dragged down by slumping fashion sales.