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UK's NPA seeks assurances over Tesco-Booker deal

Published 30 January 2017

The UK's National Pig Association (NPA) is seeking assurances on the impact of Tesco’s takeover of Booker on the pork supply chain.

The acquisition will allow Tesco to own the UK’s largest food wholesaler and owner of Londis and Budgens.

The NPA raised concerns that the acquisition might increase concentration of power within the supply chain and it could have a negative impact on pig producers.

NPA CEO Zoe Davies noted that the acquisition could put further pressure on pig producers. She said: "We will seek assurance this does not create greater imbalance in the supply chain.” 

NPA vice chairman Richard Longthorp noted that historically, Budgens were good supporters of British pork, while Londis operated in Aldi/Lidl styles, but is more focused at the convenience store end of the range.

The purchase will allow Tesco to enter into food service market.

In a recent AHDB Porkwatch survey, it was stated that Tesco was one of the worst supporters of British pigmeat, second only to Asda among the top retailers in terms of percentage of pigmeat it imports for its stores.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis noted that the £3.7bn acquisition could create the UK’s leading food business and would benefit consumers, small retailers, suppliers and shareholders.

About the deal, he further said: "Tesco has made significant progress in turning around our UK retail business. This Merger with Booker will further enhance Tesco's growth prospects by creating the UK's leading food business with combined expertise in retail, wholesale, supply chain and digital.

“Wherever food is prepared and eaten - 'in home' or 'out of home' - we will meet this opportunity with the widest choice and best service available."

Booker CEO Charles Wilson said: "Booker is committed to improving choice, prices and service for the independent retailers, caterers and small businesses that we are proud to serve.

“We believe that joining forces with Tesco offers the potential to bring major benefits to end consumers, our customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders."

Image: Tesco CEO Dave Lewis with Booker CEO Charles Wilson. Photo: Courtesy of National Pig Association.