According to press reports, Orient Home claims that it has been in negotiations with both chains over the past six months. Lu Wenwei, head of the president's office at the company, is reported to have said that the retailer was willing to sell up to a 49 per stake in the business. The company is one of the largest domestic players in China's DIY market, operating 22 stores. It is a subsidiary of the Shanghai-based company Orient Group.
B&Q entered the Chinese market organically in 1999, but has previously invested in local businesses. In November last year, it bought 5 stores from Chinese chain PriceSmart, which it will convert to the B&Q fascia over the next year. The retailer operates 20 stores in the country, and plans to have an additional 16 by January next year. A Kingfisher spokesman refused to comment on whether it had held talks with Orient Home, calling it 'market speculation'.
Home Depot, which announced its plans to enter the market in June last year, also remained tight-lipped over any potential deal negotiations with the retailer.