"It's really a function of our financial condition," he says. "We have a very strong asset base which has been improving progressively since I joined and we are still ungeared ­ despite the fact that in the last financial year our capital expenditure moved up 62% to £190m."
He says shareholders backed the board's decision to reject the two offers from Lovering and Mackenzie ­ on the grounds that they undervalued the business and were risky in terms of deliverability, not least because of the involvement of Sainsbury.
To underline its true value, the group this week claimed its property portfolio was worth £1bn, based on a revaluation carried out as part of its strategic planning. But while the bid activity has been an unwelcome distraction for Somerfield's management, von Spreckelsen can find a silver lining. "It shows our competitors, notably Sainsbury, and people who are backed by venture capitalists, have realised that we have a very valuable retail estate," he says.