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Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006

Acquisitive Don Quijote posts 13% profit rise


Staff writer

Discount retailer Don Quijote, currently under the spotlight over its hostile takeover bid for Origin Toshu Co., said Wednesday it posted a net profit of 4.85 billion yen from July to December 2005, up 13.2 percent from the same period the previous year.

Revenue rose 10 percent to 131.2 billion yen. During the period, the company opened eight new stores, bringing its total to 115.

As for the takeover attempt, Mitsuo Takahashi, the company's chief financial officer, told a news conference that Don Quijote has yet to acquire a majority of the shares in the Origin boxed meal chain.

Last week, Don Quijote surprised the market by announcing it had acquired 46.21 percent of outstanding Origin shares despite a Feb. 10 statement that it had no intention to launch another tender offer for the company.

The announcement led to open conflict with Origin, which sought help in January from retail giant Aeon Co. Aeon agreed to launch a friendly takeover bid for Origin, serving as a white knight.

Takahashi said Don Quijote's board decided to purchase Origin shares on the open market just before the market opened on Feb. 10 -- the same day the statement was released.

Asked if he believes the takeover bid will succeed despite the strong reaction from Origin, Takahashi said, "We understand that there are difficulties . . . but we hope to deal with them in a sincere manner."

Takahashi also said the retailer hopes to launch a "next-generation convenience store project" by the end of June, making use of Origin's knowhow in boxed meals and prepared foods.



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The Japan Times

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