Morrisons to sell 337 petrol stations to private equity firm in deal worth £2.5bn

Morrisons is selling 337 petrol forecourts to fellow private equity firm Motor Fuel Group (MFG) in a deal worth £2.5bn.

As part of the partnership, MFG will purchase more than 400 supermarket locations that will provide ultra-fast electric vehicle chargers.

Meanwhile, Bradford-based Morrisons is taking a 20 per cent stake in MFG.

Both companies are controlled by the American buyout group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

Morrisons is struggling to turn around its fortunes after a series of dismal financial results since its takeover by CD&R three years ago.

SALES: Morrisons sells 337 petrol forecourts to fellow private equity firm Motor Fuel Group

SALES: Morrisons sells 337 petrol forecourts to fellow private equity firm Motor Fuel Group

The supermarket said it does not expect any job losses as part of the deal and will continue to supply food sold in forecourts.

Described as a new “strategic partnership” between the two companies, Morrisons said the deal would fund further investment in its grocery and food manufacturing businesses and strengthen its finances.

Morrisons boss Sir Terry Leahy said around £2bn would be invested in the supermarket group.

The deal will also help the supermarket tackle its £5.5bn debt pile.

Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital Investment Group, downplayed the potential impact on the supermarket sector.

“We don’t think it will rock the apple cart in the UK grocery market,” he said.

Morrisons competes with increasingly popular discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Industry data published yesterday showed Morrisons’ control of the grocery market was declining further.

The beleaguered grocer captured 8.8 per cent of the market over the three months to January 21, while it captured 9.1 per cent a year earlier, according to the latest Kantar figures.

Lagging sales compared to competitors

Morrisons has once again emerged as one of Britain’s worst-performing major supermarkets in the wake of its private equity takeover.

Retail data provider Kantar revealed that sales at Morrisons in the 12 weeks to January 21 were just 2.8 per cent higher than a year earlier.

That was better than the 2.1 per cent rise seen by Asda, which is also floundering under private equity ownership.

By contrast, Lidl was the fastest growing supermarket, with sales rising by 11.9 per cent.

Aldi saw a rise of 7.2 percent. Tesco and Sainsbury’s also gained market share with sales rising by 6.3 per cent and 8.1 per cent respectively.

(tags for translation) Daily Mail

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