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House of Fraser says not impacted by Iceland crisis

By
Reuters
Published
today Oct 13, 2008
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LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - House of Fraser, Britain's third-largest department store group part-owned by Icelandic investor Baugur, reiterated on Monday it was unaffected by the economic crisis in Iceland.

"I felt that it was again important to clarify the independence of House of Fraser from these issues and to emphasise that they have no impact on the strength of its business, its operations or its trading performance," said Chairman Don McCarthy in a statement.

He said the retailer was "very confident" of its broad and supportive shareholder structure and also of its debt position.

McCarthy said House of Fraser's debt position was supplied through a group of international banks, lead by HBOS Plc .

House of Fraser was taken private in 2006 by Highland Group Holdings, a consortium of investors in which Baugur owned 35 percent.

On Saturday British retail billionaire Philip Green said he was in talks with Baugur, Icelandic banks and the government of the crisis-hit north Atlantic island to take on much of Baugur's debt.

Buying Baugur's debts, estimated at over 1 billion pounds ($1.73 billion), would give Green considerable influence over the investment group's retail interests, which include fashion brands Karen Millen and Whistles, Hamley's toy store and supermarket chain Iceland.

Green already owns the Bhs department store chain and Arcadia fashion group in the UK. (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Victoria Bryan)

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