13 Mar 2010

Hellaby Holdings looks to fund expansion

9:56 am on 13 March 2010

The owner of shoe stores Hannahs and No 1 Shoes hopes to raise cash from shareholders later this year to fund expansion plans.

Investment company Hellaby Holdings, which owns a range of businesses including packaging and heavy equipment, says it is considering a capital raising to fund acquistions.

Managing director John Williamson says he is particularly keen on buying companies to complement its existing automotive parts business, which has held up well during the recession.

The plan for retail, he says, is to improve performance. A significant restructuring project is under way for No 1 Shoes.

Meanwhile, Mr Williamson says restructuring heavy machinery business AB Equipment to a dealership model has helped it cope with a sharp reduction in demand, as well as reduce costs.

Analysts say that while Hellaby's future performance depends on the economic recovery, it is well placed to take advantage of the upturn following recent restructuring of its businesses.

And at least one analyst has suggested that Hellaby may sell off its footwear business in the future to help fund growth of its other businesses.