Morrisons kicks off £150m supermarket sale deal

Morrisons has kick-started plans to sell off some of its supermarkets in a bid to raise cash as a result of the uncertain economic conditions.

Morrisons’ owner Clayton Dubilier and Rice (CD&R) is reportedly seeking to sell and lease back five of the former-Big 4 grocer’s stores.

If the transaction was to go ahead, it would be the first deal of its kind by the grocer in its 123-year history.

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According to The Sunday Times, property agents from BNP Paribas are seeking buyers for the stores, which will come with 20-year leases and rent uplifts linked to inflation.

CD&R is already planning to sell and leaseback warehouses and food manufacturing sites.

The move follows CD&R winning a £7 billion auction for the supermarket last year, with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approving the deal in June this year. Morrisons parent company told The Sunday Times that the mooted store disposals represented just 1% of Morrisons’ supermarket portfolio.

Currently, Morrisons owns 86% of its 497 supermarkets, a higher proportion than any of its major grocery rivals.

The news comes as earlier this month it was announced Morrisons is set to be hit by £95 million in borrowing costs as its debt pile soars. Credit rating agency Moody’s has estimated that Morrisons could see its annual interest payments rise from £35 million to £335 million, on top of its current £6.6 billion debt pile.

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