FoodWorks shareholders have voted in support of FoodWorks’ purchase of 45 Coles stores, eight with adjoining liquor outlets, which means the acquisition can now proceed as planned.
FoodWorks CEO Peter Noble said it was important to receive the support of shareholders and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which had already given its approval, for the most significant growth development in the company since its 2007 internal capital raising.
“The support of our shareholders for this acquisition, which is valued at around $35 million, has been outstanding,” said Noble.
“This development enables us to not only achieve a long-term goal of company owned stores quickly and cost effectively but also increases our buying power and market presence.
“This deal will benefit our shareholders and also increase competition in the Australian grocery sector. Our increased market presence and buying power will benefit all of our retail members. The support of our suppliers will allow us continue to give the customers of all of our stores great range, top quality fresh produce and excellent value.”
All existing store staff will be offered employment on their existing terms and conditions.
“Current store staff will transfer to FoodWorks on their existing terms and conditions of employment, and they will retain their entitlements. The retail experience and local knowledge of the individual store staff is for us one of the most important assets of this transaction,” said Noble.
Noble said support for the local community will be a core part of the culture of these new stores, as it is in other FoodWorks stores.
“We are proud to support the local communities that we operate in as we appreciate their support for our stores.”
The stores included in the sale, which are in various locations throughout South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, are ideal in size and location to help accelerate FoodWorks’ growth strategy.
“We made the decision to purchase these stores as we believe that they have great potential to develop and generate excellent returns for our shareholders. Our business model and ownership structure is unique in the supermarket industry in Australia. We are Australian owned and operated and our shareholder base is restricted to our retail store owners and their related parties. Our retailers are at the entre of small and medium business in Australia,” said Noble.
The stores transition to Foodworks will be completed by Easter 2010.