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Focus DIY rescue deal - 4,700 jobs saved

The Sun

Nearly 4,700 jobs at high street giant FOCUS DIY were saved last night as the chain bagged a financial lifeline. Boss Bill Grimsey said staff were "jumping up and down, raring to go" after landlords agreed to waive millions of pounds in rent. The agreement triggered a new £50million bank loan that saved the company from collapse. Mr Grimsey said: "Without this agreement we would have gone under. Now we have enough cash to see us through the next two-and-a-half years." Focus DIY trades from 180 stores across the UK. But it has also been paying £12million a year to honour leases on 38 vacant stores that have been closed for months. Under yesterday's agreement landlords waived any future payments on these stores in return for a one-off £3.7million compensation payment. The landlords would have been unlikely to recoup anything if Focus had collapsed. The deal went through with the backing of almost all creditors. Focus has been struggling for years amid fierce competition with B&Q and HOMEBASE. Mr Grimsey took charge two years ago when a private equity consortium bought the business for a quid. He said of the deal: "This gives us an opportunity to take the fight to the competition."

25 August 2009
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