McColl’s appoints administrators but Asda owners close in on rescue deal

McColl's operating chief Dave Thomas to retire
The Group has requested that the listing of its ordinary shares be suspended with immediate effect.
// McColl’s collapses into administration placing 16,000 jobs at risk
// Asda owners the Issa brothers are understood to be close to a rescue deal for McColl’s after Morrisons’ last-ditch takeover attempt appear to have been rejected.

McColl’s has collapsed into administration but Asda owners, the Issa brothers, are understood to be close to a rescue deal for the retailer.

Petrol station operator EG Group, which is owner by Asda co-owners the Issa brothers, is thought to be the front-runner to snap up the chain after Morrisons attempt to stave off McColl’s administration fell flat.

McColl’s appointed PwC as administrator after its lenders objected to a sale to Morrisons and refused to extend a deadline for the retailer to find more cash.

McColl’s said: “Whilst the constructive discussions with the company’s key wholesale supplier to find a solution with them to the company’s funding issues and create a stable platform going forward had made significant progress, the lenders made clear that they were not satisfied that such discussions would reach an outcome acceptable to them.

“In order to protect creditors, preserve the future of the business and to protect the interests of employees, the board was regrettably therefore left with no choice other than to place the company in administration, appointing PriceWaterhouseCoopers as administrators, in the expectation that they intend to implement a sale of the business to a third-party purchaser as soon as possible.  


Morrisons, which has a joint venture with McColl’s to run Morrisons Daily convenience stores, described the administration as a “disappointing, damaging and unnecessary” outcome but gave no indication that it was still pursuing a deal.

It said: “We put forward a proposal that would have avoided today’s announcement that McColl’s is being put into administration, kept the vast majority of jobs and stores safe, as well as fully protecting pensioners and lenders.

“For thousands of hardworking people and pensioners, this is a very disappointing, damaging and unnecessary outcome.”

The Morrisons deal would have seen the supermarket take on McColl’s pension commitments and its £170m debt.

A pre-pack administration, which EG Group is preparing to use to take over McColl’s, according to Sky News, could allow a buyer to offload the pension schemes.

The Trustee of McColl’s pension scheme called on potential bidders to “respect the pension promises” made to staff and to “not seek to break the link between the schemes and the company.”

They added: “The trustees are continuing to liaise closely with The Pensions Regulator, to establish how best to protect scheme members.

“They will continue to work with stakeholders to protect members’ interests and will keep members updated.”

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