Asda forecourt

The owners of Asda and petrol stations giant EG Group were yesterday applying the finishing touches to a £10bn merger of their operations in Britain, according to Sky News. The tie up is expected to be announced today, creating a group with 170,000 employees and annual revenues of close to £30bn.

Under the plans, Lord Rose of Monewden, the chairman of Asda and EG Group and the former boss of Marks & Spencer, would be likely to chair the combined group, writes The Times (£), following up the story.

Asda is expected to pay about £3bn for EG, supported by about £500m lent by the credit arm of US-based investment firm Apollo Global Management (The Guardian).

A tie-up has been mooted for months as EG needs to refinance its £7bn debt pile by 2025 (The Mail).

The Times (£) carries an exclusive interview with former Tesco chairman John Allan: “False groping claims are galling — I’ve spent my life promoting women.” After being forced out over claims that he touched female colleagues’ bottoms, the City grandee reveals his wife’s anger over the way he was treated.

Picking up The Times interview, The Telegraph reports that the former chairman of Tesco has hired a law firm as he prepares to defend himself against claims of inappropriate behaviour towards women.

Tate & Lyle profits soared by 22% last year as the food and beverage maker’s price hikes helped mitigate cost inflation (The Mail).

Fevertree Drinks backed its full-year guidance today following a ‘good start’ to the year (The Mail). In an update ahead of its annual meeting, the posh tonic maker said trading had been in line with expectations set out in the FY22 results.

Fever-Tree Drinks has continued its Covid recovery, with the mixers group recording an on-trade UK market share by value of 52.2%, its highest level thus far (The Times £).

Pets at Home Group defied increasing economic uncertainty and tough lockdown comparisons to achieve record turnover in its last financial year. The Cheshire-based retailer’s revenue grew by 6.6% to £1.4bn for the 12 months ending March, thanks to better food sales and a stronger performance from its veterinary services division (The Mail).

Britons are splashing out on “high-end” food and accessories for their animals despite the squeeze on incomes, according to the boss of Pets at Home Group (The Times £).

Pets at Home says it is planning to open at least 40 new stores across the UK as home working inspires more people to buy pets. The retailer, which has almost 460 shops currently, unveiled the plans as it reported record annual profits (BBC News).

Young’s jumped by nearly a fifth last year and the pub group is looking ahead to the Rugby World Cup to further bolster its finances. Sales rose 19.4% to £368.9m in the year to 3 April, against around £309m during the previous 12 months, as the return to normal post-pandemic life helped lift sales (The Mail).

Retail sales volumes have fallen this month compared with the same period last year, while staffing levels have dropped sharply, a survey has found (The Times £).