Booker plans to complete Tesco merger in early 2018 at the latest

Helen Cahill
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There are competition concerns surrounding the merger (Source: Getty)

Booker Group announced this morning that it is aiming to complete its merger with the UK's largest supermarket either towards the end of 2017, or in early 2018.

The £3.7bn merger with Tesco is currently being scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority, which is examining whether the deal will give Tesco too large a share of the convenience store market. Booker Group also owns the Budgens and Londis chains, although it does not operate the stores.

There are also concerns that taking on a large wholesaler such as Booker Group will give Tesco too much power over its competitors on the supply side.

Read more: Tesco's legendary former CEO has given the thumbs up to its Booker buyout

Booker Group's sales for the year ending 24 March were £5.3bn, a growth of 6.7 per cent. Non-tobacco sales were up 8.7 per cent and tobacco sales were up 2.4 per cent.

However, like-for-like sales of tobacco were down 4.6 per cent and like-for-like sales to retailers were down 0.6 per cent.

Profit before tax grew 15 per cent to £174m.

As part of its final results today, Booker Group confirmed its was "continuing to assist the UK competition authorities".

Read more: Another influential shareholder group's attacked Tesco's Booker mega-merger

Charles Wilson, chief executive of Booker, said: "Booker Group had another good year. Our plan to focus, drive and broaden the business remains on track. Customer satisfaction was strong and sales and profits were the best we have ever achieved.

"We are planning to merge with Tesco to create the UK’s leading food business. This merger should deliver significant benefits for consumers, Booker customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders. We are very grateful for the support of our customers, suppliers and everybody in the group and look forward to making progress in the year ahead.”

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