The founder of Superquinn, the Irish Republic's smallest supermarket chain, has officially denied that he is planning to sell the business. Reports in the trade had suggested that Feargal Quinn, one of the country's most successful retailers, intended to concentrate on his political career as a member of the Irish Senate. Both Sainsbury's and Wal-Mart were being mentioned as potential buyers of the chain, which runs 30 stores and has a 9% share of the I£5bn grocery market. But Quinn insists that the chain "is not being sold to the UK or anywhere else". Instead, he has reorganised the family shareholding to leave the company free from any threat of a takeover "for at least another generation". The new share structure gives his five grown-up children majority control of the family owned business, with each holding a 14% stake. Quinn and his wife, Denise, are the other shareholders. Quinn is also proposing to open new stores in Clonmel in County Tipperary, Waterford and Galway, with another four sites on the company books. At one stage Tesco had been eyeing the Superquinn chain as a possible passport to the Irish market. Quinn offered no encouragement, however, and Tesco eventually gained entry by buying the much larger Quinnsworth chain from Associated British Foods. Today, the millionaire Irish retailer sees little prospect of either Sainsbury or Wal-Mart buying into their way into the Irish Republic ­ even though they have been assessing the market for some time. "I just don't think anyone in the Irish market would sell out to them," he said, "and I don't think either of them would try to set up a new operation here from scratch." {{NEWS }}