Three executive directors of BWG, owner of Spar and Mace franchises in Ireland and the UK, completed a €390m buyout of the group this week and immediately announced plans for a major stores expansion.

Chief executive Leo Crawford, finance director John O'Donnell and property director John Clohisey will each hold a third of BWG through a newly incorporated company, Triode Investments.

In buying the 65% stake from private equity group Cognetas European Fund, formerly Electra Partners, they had paid "a full and fair price", said Crawford.

BWG, he claimed, was well-positioned to open 40 stores a year. While it would be concentrating on its Irish business, there were no plans to sell off Appleby Westward, the Spar wholesaler in south-west England with 340 store franchises.

Clohisey, who previously held a 20% stake, said he was delighted to be part of the team that had put BWG under Irish ownership.

BWG, which has annual sales of €1.2bn, is one of the major players in the fast-growing Irish convenience market and supplies a network of 439 Spar, Eurospar and Spar Express outlets, as well as 130 Mace stores. It also operates 25 C&Cs.

The company was sold by Pernod Ricard in 2002 for 1220m to a consortium made up of Electra, Clohisey, Crawford and BWG managers.