Conviviality moves to buy Central Convenience for £25m

Conviviality has made an offer to buy a chain of 127 UK-based Central Convenience retail stores for £25 million after its owner went into administration, adding once more to its growing empire of drinks retailers, importers and distributors.

Central Convenience

Conviviality, which already owns Bargain Booze, Bibendum PLB and Matthew Clark, announced this morning that its wholly-owned subsidiary Bargain Booze Limited had offered to acquire the Central Convenience business, including 127 convenience stores, from WS Retail Ltd, for £25m.

WS Retail is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Palmer & Harvey McLane Limited (“P&H”), which went into administration on 28 November 2017.

All of the company’s Central Convenience stores are located in the south of England, around the Poole, Bournemouth and New Forest area, with its headquarters located in Ringwood.

Its potential acquisition by Conviviality fits with the company’s aim of strengthening the group’s retail presence in the south and south west of England, with the majority of its convenience retail stores currently based in the Midlands and northern England.

If the offer is accepted, Conviviality will fund the acquisition through the placing of 8,000,000 new ordinary shares at a price of 375 pence per share to raise £30m.

Diana Hunter, chief executive officer of Conviviality, said: “We are pleased to have finalised terms for a potential acquisition of Central Convenience as it provides a clear opportunity to accelerate the growth and reach of the existing Conviviality Retail business, notably broadening our geographic footprint in the south and south west of England.

“The acquisition, if effected, will support our strategic goal to be the drinks and impulse sector’s leading independent distributor and we believe that potential exists for a range of synergies and increased returns for Conviviality’s shareholders. We look forward to welcoming colleagues from Central Convenience to the Conviviality Group.”

The acquisition would include 127 convenience physical stores including 20 petrol forecourts, incorporating 47 Post Offices and 18 franchisee operated stores.

Hunter was named as The Drinks Business’ Woman of the Year in the 2017’s Drinks Business Awards, for her work transforming Conviviality from an alcohol, impulse and tobacco wholesaler serving franchised off-licence business Bargain Booze into Conviviality PLC,  the UK’s largest drinks wholesaler and distributor, steering it through a string of acquisitions, including Matthew Clark in October 2015, events agency Peppermint and Bibendum PLB in May 2016.

The company now supplies the multiple grocers, independent off-trade and its own franchised businesses, as well as the on-trade and events.

Last year Hunter claimed that the company now controls the alcoholic drinks supply for as much as 8% of the UK on-trade. 

If the offer is accepted, the acquisition will be completed by 4.30pm. today.

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