Iceland boss Malcolm Walker paid just £1 in cash to purchase DBC Foodservice's parent company the Woodward Group in May, according to accounts filed this week.

The sum, paid to DBC's previous owners Baugur and Fons Eignarhaldsfelag, was revealed in accounts for the Woodward Group.

However, the real cost of the purchase was much higher because Walker took on the company's net liabilities, which at the end of March 2009 were £5.5m. "It looks like Baugur lost its shirt on this deal and Walker and co probably got a good deal," said one wholesaler. "Walker's turnaround of Iceland was one of the best in recent history but he still has a lot of work to do to get the same kind of value out of DBC."

The Woodward Group was formed in 2006 when Woodward Foodservice bought DBC with the aim of merging the two companies, but the attempt failed and the group accrued major losses.

Woodward Foodservice was sold to Brakes in September 2008 for a price understood to be £22m.Walker formed a company called WPD, which bought the Woodward Group, including DBC, in May.