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Laura Ashley denies takeover bid

Laura Ashley has confirmed that a bid has not been received for the company, as speculation mounts over potential takeover offers.

The brand’s chairman said the group, which is owned by Malaysian United Industries, has “no intention” of selling its controlling stake, despite potential parties believing it is “significantly undervalued”. 

Andrew Khoo, chairman of Laura Ashley, said: “As far as I am concerned, there is no takeover bid because there has been no approach whatsoever. If and when an approach is made, the board will discharge its duties as always and assess it on its relative merits.

“I would however like to state for the record that as major shareholders of Laura Ashley, we have no intention of divesting our controlling stake. Whilst I understand why potential parties would think we are significantly undervalued, I have complete confidence that we will be able to grow profitably and in a sustainable manner so as to create long-term value for our shareholders. We remain just as committed and passionate about this well-loved brand as when we first decided to invest in Laura Ashley over 20 years ago.”

The retailer warned its full-year performance will fall short of expectations after it made a loss before tax, including exceptional items, of £1.5m in the 26 weeks to 31 December 2018.

However, fashion like-for-like sales were up by 11.8% for the period. A renewed focus on product and a restructuring of the fashion team in 2017 are beginning to bear fruit. 

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