Hardware retailer Robert Dyas has lined up former Kingfisher director Geoff Brady as chairman and is concluding a debt-for-equity swap as it refocuses on trading following financial restructuring.
Brady succeeds Ian Gray, the turnaround specialist who, along with Robert Dyas chief executive Steven Round, led a management buyout in April and put the retailer – which then faced collapse – on a firm financial footing.
Now progress has been achieved, Gray will remain on Robert Dyas’s board while Brady will add wide-ranging retail expertise. He previously worked with Round at health and beauty chain Superdrug, then owned by Kingfisher, where Brady was commercial director.
Brady subsequently went on to head Allied Carpets when it was a public company. As a non-executive director of Matalan he won respect for his handling of the sale of the business to founder John Hargreaves, and he is a non-executive director of market-leading Carpetright.
Sue Shipley, a former colleague of Brady who now leads headhunter Odgers Berndtson’s retail practice, said: “Geoff is a very creative thinker and will bring a wide business perspective.”
Robert Dyas, bought by Change Capital in 2003 in a £61m deal, was sold to management after labouring under its debt repayment burden.
Change Capital’s investment was wiped out but lenders Lloyds Banking Group and Allied Irish supported the deal. They will now exchange an undisclosed proportion of debt for equity in the 105-store business, which is thought to have an enterprise value of about £30m.
The deal frees Robert Dyas to concentrate on trading. Verdict consulting director Neil Saunders said its market sector has been tough, but there should be a return to “moderate” growth and the retailer has distinguishing strengths. He said: “An advantage is the specialist nature of the stores and authoritative range.”
No comment was available from Brady, Gray or Round.