Shareholders at Booker have denied that the company is in jeopardy as it investigates ways of refinancing the business.
A spokesman for Icelandic investment firm Baugur, a major shareholder, admitted that the business was not in as good a condition as it had thought when it first bought into the business in February. But it said current sales were not as bad as expected.
He said: “We always planned to look at the financial structure but there is certainly no immediate financial crisis with Booker.”
The options open to Booker regarding refinancing are a cash injection from shareholders or its banks swapping debt for equity.
A Booker spokesman confirmed: “Booker has witnessed difficult trading conditions, however these have been in line with management’s expectations.
“The shareholders are confident that the business will improve and, with the banks, remain fully supportive.”

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