Woolworths finally completes Masters exit

MastersWoolworths has finally completed its exit from the ill-fated venture into home hardware with the sale of its shares in Hydrox Holdings.

Woolworths says it has completed the sale of its interest in Hydrox – the joint venture company it set up with US firm Lowe’s to run Masters – to the Home Investment Consortium.

Home Consortium, which includes companies behind retailers Spotlight and Chemist Warehouse, reached agreement with Woolworths in August to buy Masters’ 61 hardware stores and 21 development sites for $835 million.

The deal represents around 700,000 sqm in retail floorspace around Australia.

Wesfarmers-owned hardware chain Bunnings has taken eleven of the sites, with a conversion on the Masters site in Mount Gambier approaching completion.

The completed sale comes after a drawn-out legal process, which reached a breakthrough in April when Woolies was able to press ahead with the sale of Masters’ property assets without the consent of its former joint venture partner.

An award in the confidential arbitration between the supermarket chain and Lowe’s meant the US hardware giant had to sell its 33 per cent stake in the failed Masters stores.

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    YankeeBob posted on October 17, 2017

    I worked at the Masters Box Hill and Hawthorn stores for 18 months towards the end. Never have I seen a business as poorly managed in 45 years in Australia. Too much stock, management churn beyond belief, regional managers wasting staff time with rubbish ideas. One day I spoke to a former Bunnings Nunawading manager who had shifted to Masters. Like myself he was astonished. The national GM toured our store one day. No customers were in the store, and she walked around. We were asked to be polite and distant. Not my style really. reply

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