Lancashire billionaires splash £600m to snap up these forecourt shops
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The Co-operative Group has agreed to sell its 129-strong petrol forecourt chain to the supermarket giant owned by the Blackburn brothers who made their fortune through EG garage forecourts.
The sale will see five per cent of Co-op’s entire retail estate – including three development sites – handed over to Asda, which already runs 323 petrol stations across the UK.
Co-op, known for its supermarket chains and funeral care operations, said that offloading its petrol forecourts will allow it to focus on its convenience business as well as raising important cash for the business.
For Asda, the move is part of its plans to become “the UK’s second largest supermarket” and to move further into the country’s convenience store market.
Asda will pay £438m in cash and take on around £162m of lease liabilities as part of the deal, with the final amount set to be confirmed on completion later this year.
The cash will go towards funding new convenience stores in the heart of more communities, and reducing its net debt, the Co-op said.
Around 2,300 Co-op staff who work across the sites being sold will transfer over to Asda once the deal is complete.
Mohsin Issa, the co-owner of Asda, said: “We have always been clear in our ambition to grow Asda and are hugely excited to create this new and distinct part of our business, giving us the opportunity to bring Asda value in fuel and groceries to even more customers and communities across the UK.
“We see convenience as a significant growth opportunity for the business.
“This acquisition accelerates our strategy in this area and forms part of our long-term ambition to become the UK’s second-largest supermarket.”