Musgrave's €57m sale of GB business gets competition approval
Cork-based retailing group Musgrave has secured competition approval for the sale of its British business for €57m.
It marks the end of a more than decade-long failed assault on the market, with Musgrave now largely concentrating on its domestic business that includes the SuperValu and Centra brands.
Musgrave announced in May that it had agreed to sell its Budgens and Londis business in Britain to UK retail and wholesale group Booker.
The €57m price tag represents less than a quarter of the net price Musgrave had paid for the loss-making business.
Family-owned Musgrave first took an effective 43.5pc stake in Budgens in 2000. It bought that stake and convertible loan stock for €146m from German retailer ReWe.
In 2002, it paid another £232m (€275m at the time) for the remainder of Budgens. Musgrave bought the Londis franchise for the UK in 2004 for £60m. That brought the total spend buying the businesses to £382m.
It is not selling its business in Northern Ireland and continues to have a presence in Spain.
Musgrave confirmed yesterday that the sale to Booker had received regulatory clearance from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority. The sale is expected to be formalised by September 14.
There are a total of about 1,800 Budgens and Londis stores across Britain.
The bulk of them are Londis outlets. Musgrave is also developing a strategic partnership with Booker.
Musgrave's group sales in 2014 were €4.6bn, and it made a pre-exceptional operating profit of €66m.
However, it posted a €13m after-tax loss compared to €113m loss in 2013.
Musgrave expects to return to profit this year.