Spar South Africa In €55m Deal With BWG

SPAR South Africa is to take an 80 per cent stake in BWG, which owns the SPAR brand in Ireland.

BWG Group has announced that SPAR South Africa will invest €55 million in a joint venture with the BWG management team to acquire the BWG group of companies.

The remaining 20 per cent will be owned by Leo Crawford, John Clohisey and John O’Donnell.

The announcement secures a further reduction in BWG’s borrowings following a buyback of exiting banks’ debts. This further reduction in debt comes on top of that achieved as part of a successful refinancing concluded in November 2013, which also saw BWG agree new five year banking facilities.

These facilities have been reaffirmed by BWG’s lenders as part of this transaction with Bank of Ireland and AIB increasing their commitment.

The new partnership will have up to €100m to invest in the expansion of BWG’s leading wholesale and convenience retailing operations over the next five years.

BWG will continue to be led by Group CEO, Leo Crawford, and the existing management team and there will be no change to the structure or composition of the existing businesses.

BWG Foods national distribution centre
BWG Foods national distribution centre

Commenting on the new partnership, Leo Crawford said: “This is a very positive and exciting development for BWG. In SPAR South Africa we have secured a major international retail player as a strategic partner and a long-term investor in our business. We have known SPAR South Africa for many years and they are a great fit for BWG.”

BWG and SPAR South Africa are well known to one another as both have been members of SPAR International for more than 50 years. Leo Crawford is the current Chairman of the Board of SPAR International.

Commenting on behalf of SPAR South Africa, Graham O’Connor, Group CEO said: “BWG is an excellent strategic fit for SPAR South Africa.  Apart from the significant additional financial strength we will bring to the business, the deal will bolster BWG’s purchasing power, deepen our expertise in store formats and design and facilitate knowledge sharing across all aspects of the convenience food retail sector including logistics, warehousing and distribution.”