Iceland chief executive Malcolm Walker is bidding to take control of the retailer via a management buyout valuing the group at £1bn.

The bid from Walker and the Iceland management team was initially knocked back by Landsbanki and Glitnir but remains on the table.

Walker also moved to quash speculation that a rival bidder had come forward with a £1.4bn approach.

“I have spoken to Landsbanki and it is absolutely untrue to suggest that there is anyone else involved,” he told The Guadian.

The news marks the first time Walker has publicly confirmed plans to take full control of the company he founded 40 years ago.

He and his management team were ousted in 2001 but invited back in 2005 when Icelandic investment company Baugur took control. When Baugur spectacularly collapsed in the credit crunch, creditors Landsbanki and Glitnir assumed its shares.

Iceland has shown double-digit sales growth every year since Walker’s return. Analysts claim Walker has been a key ingredient of the chain’s success.

Sales increased by 10.4% to £2.3bn in the year to 26 March, helped by opening 74 stores in the period, while pre-tax profits were up 19.4% to £135.4m. The retailer also reduced its net debt from £85.4m to £7.6m in the course of the year.

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