UK wholesale trade consolidates with Booker’s £140m buy-out of Makro

Booker shares hit a 52-week high this week on the back Wednesday’s news that it has agreed a £140m deal to buy Makro from German retail group Metro.

The wholesaler’s shares topped 88p yesterday as the City gave a positive reaction to the announcement.

The agreement sees Booker acquire Makro’s 30 UK outlets enabling it to expand its customer base to include many of Makro’s hotel, restaurant and small to medium sized businesses customers.

Just last week Booker boasted improved customer satisfaction and a 22,000 rise in customer numbers as it posted end-of-year results showing a +27% rise in pre-tax profit to £90.8m for the 53 weeks ending March 30, 2012.

The group posted total sales for the period of £3.9bn – an increase of +9.4%, breaking down the rises to: non tobacco +5.1%; tobacco +7.8%; foodservice +6.1% and retail +6.1%. Overall like-for-like sales for the comparable 52 weeks grew by +6.1%.

The Makro deal is already prompting speculation about which depots might close and how the two businesses will be integrated.

However, Charles Wilson said in a statement about the deal: “Together we will offer a wide range of foods and non foods to our professional customers, via the internet, delivery and cash and carry.”
One industry insider questioned whether Wilson’s order of “internet, delivery and cash and carry” was significant.

See the June issue of Wholesale News for industry thoughts on the deal.

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