Stores saved

Morrisons wins battle for McColl’s convenience chain

McColl’s stores and jobs will be saved

Supermarket chain Morrisons has won the brief battle with the petrol retailer EG Group for control of the debt-laden McColls retail chain.

Morrisons secured the deal after a pledge to buy out McColl’s syndicate of bank lenders, including NatWest Group, Barclays and HSBC which had reportedly demanded immediate repayment of outstanding loans.

The deal is expected to preserve McColl’s 1,100 stores and 16,000 strong workforce, along with commitments on their pensions.

It will be structured as a pre-pack administration, meaning Morrisons will buy McColl’s immediately after it enters insolvency proceedings overseen by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

McColl’s already partners with Morrisons, operating hundreds of smaller shops under the Morrisons Daily brand.

The company, trading as RS McColl in Scotland, saw its value slump from £200m to zero as it requested suspension of its shares.

EG Group, run by the Asda-owning Issa brothers, appeared to have won the race for McColl’s, although its wavering on pensions prompted concern and it only agreed to match Morrisons’ promises late yesterday.

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