Sons of an immigrant worker from Gujrat, Zuber Issa, and Mohsin Issa, on Friday, announced that they have acquired retail chain Asda which is currently owned by Walmart. The valuation of the retail giant Asda is estimated to be around £ 6.8 billion. This marks another success story from the UK’s Indian community.
Their parents had moved to the United Kingdom in the 1970s. Born in Blackburn, although starting small, the brothers made rapid growth in their fortune. Zuber Issa, now 48, and Mohsin Issa, 49, at first started to work at a petrol station in Greater Manchester in 2001. Since then they had gone on to build a huge chain consisting of thousands of petrol stations in Europe and in the United States for their company, EG Group.
The story of their success caught the eyes of several people and was even reported by FICCI consultant Grant Thornton and the Indian high commission in February, in an article titled ‘India in the UK: The Diaspora Effect’.
An association of the two brothers, Zuber Issa and Mohsin Issa, and private equity firm TDR Capital would hold a majority stake of Asda after the acquisition and Walmart would continue to hold a minor stake in the company. Walmart had acquired Asda in 1999 for a sum of £ 6.7 billion.
The brothers in a statement said, “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.”
They also added, “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.”
They also praised the performance of the supermarket chain during the COVID-19 pandemic and had also pledged to serve the company well. They also said that the company showed “fundamental strength and resilience” during the pandemic.
The deal went through after an auction process for Asda that went on for several months and at last the 71-year-old retail chain is now going back under British ownership after a long time. This move was also welcomed by UK chancellor Rishi Sunak. He said, “Great to see Asda returning to majority UK ownership for the first time in two decades today,” over Twitter.
He also said, “The new owners have already committed to investing over GBP 1 billion in the next three years and increasing the proportion of UK-based suppliers. I wish them the best of luck.”
Walmart has confirmed that they would continue to keep their headquarters in Leeds in northern England, and the chief executive Roger Burnley would continue to be in charge.
The Issa brothers also said, “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.”
Robert Burnley has also welcomed the move and news agency the Times of India reported his statement, “In a constantly changing retailing environment, our new ownership will further enhance our resilience, whilst creating significant, additional opportunities to drive growth. For Asda colleagues, a strong and growing business is important for our long-term future.”
The deal is almost done and is only waiting for regulatory approvals which are supposed to go through in the first half of 2021.