Business Irish

Tuesday 20 November 2018

BWG goes in buy-out for ?220m to Electra Partners

Cyril Hardiman

THE worst kept secret in town, the sale of cash 'n carry business BWG to private equity specialist Electra Partners Europe, was confirmed yesterday.

French drinks group Pernod Ricard, owners of key Irish whiskey brands such as Jameson and Bushmills, sold the business for a total consideration of ?220m. This is fractionally lower than had been estimated.

Senior management, led by BWG chief executive Leo Crawford, helped facilitate the buy-out of a business Pernod Ricard no longer sees as being core to its operations.

The French group is now concentrating on the drinks industry following its joint acquisition, along with Diageo, of the Seagrams group in Canada.

Electra will hold a majority stake in a new holding company which has been formed for the purposes of acquiring BWG Group. Shareholders of Newhill Ltd will hold an undisclosed minority stake.

Newhill owns 115 SPAR stores in Ireland which will continue to trade as an independent business, with John Clohisey, its main shareholder, remaining as chief executive.

Mr Clohisey, along with other unnamed shareholders of Newhill, will have a minority stake in the new BWG holding company and he is also joining its board as a non-executive director.

BWG Group is made up of five businesses.

It is the market leader in supplying convenience stores in Ireland and owns the franchises to significant retail brands including SPAR and Mace in the Republic of Ireland through BWG Foods and Mace in Northern Ireland through J&J Haslett.

In England, BWG owns Bargain Booze, the fast growing alcohol wholesaler, and Appleby Westward, the SPAR wholesaler in the South West of England, as well as BWG Wholesale, whichdelivers to independent retailers.

For the year ended December 31, 2001, group turnover was ?2.15bn, while profit before interest and tax was ?31m.

The new BWG board will be chaired by Jerry Liston, the former United Drug managing director who was recently voted off the Gresham Hotel board by its major shareholder Red Sea Hotels.

He will be joined as a non-executive director by Richard Keatinge, former managing director of IBI Corporate Finance and current chairman of Heiton Holdings.

Rupert King and Damien Lane, directors of Electra Partners Europe, also join the board.

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