UPDATE 2-Rona says will sell assets, focus on distribution
* Company says will return to roots as distributor
* Rona promises simpler structure, quarterly updates
* Shares rise more than 3 percent on the TSX (Adds CEO comments, background, updates share price move)
By Euan Rocha and Allison Martell
Dec 6 (Reuters) - Canadian hardware retailer and distributor Rona Inc will sell assets and simplify its operations as part of a back-to-its-roots strategy designed to turn its fortunes around, the company's interim chief executive said on Thursday.
Dominique Boies, who took the reins at Rona following last month's exit of long-time CEO Robert Dutton, said he plans to bring profit margins in line with industry standards with his changes, which will shift the company's focus back to its roots as a hardware distributor.
Rona, Canada's largest distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products, has grown through a series of strategic acquisitions.
But the Quebec-based company has stumbled in recent years amid strong competition from U.S. giants Home Depot and Lowe's Cos Inc. Earlier this year it was the target of an unsolicited C$1.8 billion ($1.8 billion) takeover proposal from Lowe's.
Lowe's withdrew its proposal in mid-September in the face of stiff opposition from both provincial politicians in Quebec and from many of Rona's independent dealers. Continued...