BLACKBURN’S billionaire Issa brothers have laid out their vision of a future of investment and expansion for Asda after buying the supermarket chain yesterday.

Current US owners Walmart yesterday agreed to sell the supermarket giant to a group led by the EG Group petrol station tycoons in a £6.8billion deal.

The success of the bid by Mohsin and Zuber Issa and their private equity partner TDR Capital returns the 71-year-old firm to British ownership after 21 years.

The new owners will be tasked with expanding its digital business further to take advantage of soaring demand and make ground on rivals, such as Tesco, who have a larger slice of the market.

Already, the brothers pledged to invest £1bn to accelerate Asda’s growth strategy,.

The announcement that they had clinched the deal marked the end of a six-month campaign to buy Britain’s third-biggest supermarket chain during which they saw off two major US finance firms.

The Issa brothers immediately revealed their prospectus for the future of their new purchase.

It revealed they plan to invest more than £1bn in the next three years in Asda to strengthen the business; continue to offer low prices across its stores; ensure Asda remains a price leader in the supermarket fuel sector; increase the proportion of UK-based suppliers for products such as chicken, dairy, wheat and potatoes, and source 100 per cent British beef.

It also promised to maintain competitive pay levels for Asda staff and boost job opportunities.

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Under the new ownership structure, the Issa brothers and TDR Capital are acquiring a majority ownership stake in Asda. Walmart will retain a stake in the business and a seat on the board.

Asda will remain headquartered in Leeds.

The business will continue to be led by Roger Burnley who will sit on Asda’s Board alongside representatives appointed by the brothers, TDR Capital and Walmart. 

Mohsin and Zuber Issa said: “We are very proud to be investing in Asda, an iconic British business that we have admired for many years. Asda’s customer-centric philosophy, focus on operational excellence and commitment to the communities in which it operates are the same values that we have built EG Group on.

“Asda’s performance through the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the fundamental strength and resilience of the business, and we are excited to support Roger and his team as they continue to reposition the business to drive long-term growth.

“We believe that our experience with EG Group, including our expertise around convenience and brand partnerships and our successful partnership with TDR Capital, can help to accelerate and execute that growth strategy.

“After a successful period as part of Walmart we are looking forward to helping Asda build a differentiated business that will continue to serve customers brilliantly in communities across the UK.”

The brothers have built a business empire after buying a petrol forecourt in Bury in 2001 before expanding across East Lancashire.

Now with a fortune estimated at more than £3.5bn, they operate almost 6,000 petrol stations and forecourt convenience stores across 10 countries worldwide and have just opened a new £35m headquarters for the EG Group, formerly Euro-Garages, off Blackburn’s Haslingden Road.

Miranda Barker, chief executive of the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “I would expect the brothers to invest in Asda. From past experience of the EG Group, I would hope to see expansion, improvement and partnership working, boosting supply chains in the UK and North West.”

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s growth boss, said: “The Issa brothers’ track record is one of expansion and investment. I would hope to see this with their new acquisition.”

Blackburn MP Kate Hollern said: “The Issa brothers’ success story is a real source of pride for Blackburn.”

Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said: “It is great news for the region. I think they will be great owners.”

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Gary Lindsay at TDR Capital said: “Asda is a strong and well-managed business with one of the leading brands in UK retail. We are proud to be investing alongside Mohsin and Zuber, who have built EG Group into a global convenience retailer and will now bring that experience to bear at Asda.”

Roger Jenkins, of the GMB union, said: “The new owners must offer sound reassurances to more than 100,000 Asda workers.”

Mr Burnley said: “This new ownership opens an exciting new chapter in Asda’s history.”