Asda owners sell $1.5bn worth of US retail property

EG Group has announced it is selling off $1.5 billion worth of US retail property in a bid to reduce debt across the business.

The company, founded by the Issa family in 2001, bought Asda from Walmart nearly three years ago alongside private equity firm TDR Capital for £6.8 billion.

The retail giant is selling 415 stores under the Cumberland Farms, Fastrac, Tom Thumb, and Sprint brands; around 15 per cent of its overall property portfolio across the 10 markets it operates in.

The Group said that money from the sale will be used to repay debt.

The move comes after the business committed to reduce total loans and borrowing through debt reduction and free cash flow generation in its third quarter trading update published in November last year.

The British retailer, which currently has a 50,000-strong workforce across 6,000 sites in the UK and Ireland, Continental Europe, USA, and Australia, said that it had received a lot of interest from multiple blue-chip investors and “attractive terms” for the sale.

Zuber Issa, CBE co-founder and co-chief executive of EG Group, commented: “Today’s announcement demonstrates the progress we continue to make to put in place a robust capital structure for the medium term that will underpin our long-term strategy and represents an important first step in this process.”

Last year the billionaire Issa brothers promised to create 32,000 global jobs over a five-year period, with the company’s foodservice business accounting for the majority of roles.

The retailer said that in the UK, it will deliver many of the jobs by rolling out its propriety brands – including bakery chain Cooplands and fast-food brand LEON – across its petrol forecourt network, new-to-industry sites (NTIs), and EG foodservice concessions at Asda locations.

Asda also said it would create 10,000 roles over the next four years as the retailer plans a nationwide roll out of its new express store concept. The supermarket plans to open 300 convenience stores by the end of 2026.

Several months after this announcement, in January Asda said that it would be cutting 300 jobs and reducing pay for 4,300 staff working the night shift.

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