By Sarah Falson

SYDNEY: Breville distributor, Housewares International, has been approached with takeover bids, one month after it announced it would sell-off its Australian Homewares division and buy the remainder of its Canadian-based distribution business.

“HWI has received approaches from a number of parties indicating that they are interested in making an offer for the company,” said HWI company secretary, Paul Milburn.

“To date, no formal offers have been received and it is possible no such offers will eventuate.”

HWI has appointed UBS Bank Investment to assist it in dealing with these approaches. The company will acquire the remaining 50 per cent of its Canadian-based business for about $7.5 million, payable over two years.

On January 30, HWI announced it would sell its Australian Homewares business which it has now been revealed incurred losses for the six months ending 31 December 2006 of $6 million.

Of course, these losses will impact the company’s overall profit after tax for that period, says the company, which is due to release the half-yearly report this month.

The acquisition by household products distributor McPherson’s Limited of the unprofitable Homewares division which sells cleaning, kitchenware and tabletop products is pending, according to Milburn.

The sale is part of the group’s strategy to increase its focus on the international small appliance marketplace through its key electrical brand, Breville, which is particularly successful in the USA, selling through specialty retailers like Williams Sonoma.

According to Milburn, the sale will generate around $25 million after costs.

"This transaction will further strengthen the company’s financial capacity and remove the trading losses currently being experienced by this division," he said in January.

HWI’s general manager – marketing, Cameron Searle, wasn’t available for comment today.