Costcutter MD Colin Graves has lashed out at claims that it is in negotiations with Icelandic bank Kaupthing to clinch a £100m refinancing deal.
Graves refused to confirm or deny national newspaper reports that he was set to nail the multi-million pound package in return for Kaupthing taking a minority stake.
But he did say he was furious at references that he and his wife Julia were alleged to be involved in the negotiations, when in fact his wife died in November last year.
“This has caused a lot of pain for those who knew
Julia and I’m very annoyed by it. It’s totally out of order. These sort of facts should be checked first.” He said he had demanded that an apology be printed.
Most retail sources confessed their ignorance about the suggested refinancing deal.
If the rumours are proved to be correct, it would enable the retailer to buy up other independent retail chains, possibly within The Grocer’s Top 50 listings of independent retailers. However, one Costcutter retailer said: “It’s the first I’ve heard of it. It’s taken me completely by surprise.”
Other sources said: “I had heard the management was planning something, possibly buying up more stores.”
One retailer said that he had heard that Costcutter itself was going to be acquired, but admitted that he knew little about the identity of any companies that were potentially bidding for the business.
According to reports, the management team at Costcutter would reinvest some of the cash provided by Kaupthing into the existing business while retaining the remainder for acquisitions.
Costcutter announced last month that it had embarked on a campaign targeting thousands of independent retailers in a bid to recruit them from rival symbol groups.
At the same time, the chain embarked on a concerted drive to woo shoppers, reintroducing a series of advertisements on GMTV promoting cut-price offers in its stores.
Separately, the retailer, ranked sixth in The Grocer’s Top 50 with 1,300 stores, denied rumours that it had ever been involved in putting together a package to buy Kwik Save.
“I think that came about because of the fact that two of the new management team at Kwik Save, Alan Birchill and Steve McArdle, have worked for Costcutter International,” a spokesman for the business told The Grocer.
Rod Addy