The projected takeover of cash & carry founder company Batley’s by London-based Bestway, first announced last week, is now expected to be completed as early as next week, Batley’s management have confirmed.
Reports indicate that Bestway will pay £100m for the cash and carry operations of the Leeds-based company, comprising 18 depots sited across Britain from Wales to Scotland. It is understood that the Batley’s petfood subsidiary operation is not included in the deal and will remain in the hands of the Batley family.
The move will significantly enhance Bestway’s position as the number two player in the UK cash & carry market, after Booker, producing a group with a combined turnover of approaching £1.8bn, giving it an estimated 19% share of cash & carry (Booker has 37%) and 11% of the wider UK grocery wholesaling market (including the delivered sector) worth some £16.4bn in 2003.
The new group will have a total of 49 depots with 4.2 million square feet of space. For the most part the distribution of Bestway and Batley’s depots are complementary (with Bestway stronger in the south and Batley’s in the north) and together will provide a strong national representation in all the key conurbations of mainland Britain.
At present no depot rationalisation is envisaged. However, issues of overlap and cannibalisation could arise in the handful of cities where both companies have depots, such as Cardiff and Liverpool, but especially in smaller urban areas such as Swindon and the Leeds/Bradford/Huddersfield area where the new group will have four depots.