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No more retreats: John Allan assures Tesco shareholders


Tesco Chairman John Allan has assured shareholders that there are no immediate plans to sell any of the company’s remaining overseas arms. 

The meeting took place following the successful sale of the supermarket giant’s South Korean label, Homeplus. 

Although Tesco remains Britain’s biggest supermarket, it has pulled out of several international territories in recent years. Its retreat from the US and Japanese markets proved costly, and the company has also sold a stake in its Chinese business. 

“As we sit here today we believe that we have the right sort of assembly of geographies that we are in,” said Allan. 

“At the moment our intention is to hold what we have and to develop it and make the very best of it.” 

Allan admitted that he “can envisage circumstances” under which his current stance “might change.” Earlier this year suiters expressed interest in Tesco’s Thai and Malaysian business arms. Tesco’s other ventures in Central Europe and Ireland remain safe for now. 

With the sale of Homeplus, Tesco’s debt, which stood at £21.7bn as of the end of February 2015, will be reduced by £4.2bn.  

Tesco has made a number of efforts to cut costs. At the start of his tenure as CEO last September, Dave Lewis announced the closure of 43 stores in the wake of the accounting scandal. 

The company continues to look for a buyer for Dunnhumby, its data business which went on sale in January. 

We have looked at the options around Dunnhumby… We’ve not concluded that. As soon as we conclude it we would announce what it is we intend to do,” Lewis told shareholders. 

Published on Thursday 01 October by Philip Gallagher

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