Sunday 21 October 2018

Spar's parent BWG sees profits up 10pc

David Murphy Deputy Business Editor

BWG Holdings, (the wholesale group behind convenience chain Spar), which was recently acquired for ?205m, made an operating profit of ?45.7m in 2002, up 10pc on the previous year.

The accounts, which were filed two weeks ago in the Companies Registration Office, show the company made sales of ?2.2bn last year.

The figures, which have extensive details for the period from August to December after the takeover, show it paid exceptional charges of ?14m and the cost of interest on its loans was ?8m.

These costs led to a loss of ?7.1m in the four-month period, partly as the result of the costs of a management buyout which was backed by British venture capital group Electra.

The group had turnover of ?750m in the four months under review after the acquisition. Most of the sales came from Britain and the North of Ireland, where turnover was ?476m. In the Republic of Ireland, sales were ?272m and ?920,000 in the rest of Europe.

Among the exceptional costs was a ?5m loyalty bonus paid to its 2,092 workers after the management-led consortium bought the group from French drinks conglomerate Pernod Ricard.

The costs of setting up the new structure after the takeover were ?10m. Chief executive Leo Crawford owns 4.5pc of BWG and director John Clohisey, who holds the franchises part of the Spar chain, owns about 10pc.

The entire management team owns 35pc of BWG and Electra holds the remaining shares.

The board is chaired by former United Drug boss Gerry Liston and the venture capital group has three more seats at board level.

The accounts show the company raised ?3.5m from the sale of its subsidiary, T&A Symonds. This year, the company has sold two other wholesale subsidiaries.

In Ireland, BWG is a wholesaler to the franchise chain of Spar stores. Mr Crawford yesterday said sales through the retail outlets are due to hit ?850m by the end of 2003, up from ?763m last year.

He added: "Spar Ireland launched a refocused strategy earlier this year targeting over 100 new stores and 1,000 new jobs over three years. We are happy to report we are on target to achieve our ambitious plans.

"Since launching our new strategy in May, Spar is on target to open 35 new stores in 2003, bringing total store numbers past the 400 mark. We have succeeded in creating 250 new jobs in the process."

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