Analyst hints at Rona takeover by Lowe’s

While Lowe’s appears poised to enter Canada, there’s much less certainty over the company’s acquisition plans north of the border.

Rumors that Lowe’s could begin mulling a takeover of Boucherville, Quebec-based home improvement chain Rona were fueled by an analyst’s prediction. Desjardins Securities analyst Keith Howlett said he believes there is a “40 percent chance” of Lowe’s bidding for Rona via its Lowe’s Canadian unit.

Other analysts have said a large buyout group could bid for Rona, and some do not share Howlett’s view, according to reports. Lowe’s and Rona have both declined to comment on the speculation, though Lowe’s has maintained that its strategy is to build its stores in Canada from the ground up, as opposed to making acquisitions.

Lowe’s has projected it might open as many as five or six stores in Ontario, Canada, this year. An opening in Hamilton will be followed by new locations in Brantford, South Brampton and Scarborough, the area that forms the most eastern part of Toronto.

Canada is home to growing DIY competition with the presence of Home Depot, Rona, Canadian Tire and Home Hardware, with roughly 2,000 stores combined.