// Iceland founder Sir Malcolm Walker & group MD Tarsem Dhaliwal paid £110m to buy out former shareholder Brait
// Another £31m of Iceland’s cash was used to acquire 28 restaurants, and £8.6m was used to buy back shares owned by joint MD who resigned
// Comes after Iceland declined to hand over one-year business rates holiday to the government, worth £40m
Iceland senior executives have reportedly splashed out almost £150 million after a surge in profits and sales since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, while also refusing to pay back business rates support like other essential retailers.
According investor presentations seen by The Sunday Times, Iceland founder Sir Malcolm Walker and group managing director Tarsem Dhaliwal paid £110 million to buy out former shareholder Brait, which had a 63 per cent stake in the frozen food retailer.
Walker and Dhaliwal also reportedly used an additional £31 million of Iceland’s money via Ice Acquisitions, a separate company, to acquire 28 restaurants trading under fascias like Piccolino via a pre-pack administration deal.
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Meanwhile, another £8.6 million was used to buy back shares owned by Nigel Broadhurst after he resigned as joint managing director.
The news comes after Iceland declined to hand over one-year business rates holiday to the government, reportedly worth £40 million.
A raft of other essential retailers, notably the Big 4 grocers as well as Aldi and Lidl, recently decided to pay a combined total of £2.1 billion in business rates relief back to the government after they were allowed to keep their shops open throughout all the lockdowns.
Iceland was one of the few essential retailers – alongside the likes of Waitrose and Marks & Spencer – that declined to hand it over, despite sales growing 20 per cent to £2.9 billion in the 40 week period ending January 1.
The business rates relief was given to all retailers last year, regardless of whether or not they were classified as “non essential” and forced to close amid Covid-19 lockdowns.
“We make no apology for using the relief to protect and create jobs and to offset significant Covid- related costs,” Iceland told The Sunday Times.
“We have not profiteered in any way from the relief provided.
“Several of our competitors have paid back relief, but are also making thousands of people redundant and closing stores.”