Tesco names Booker’s Charles Wilson its UK boss

Retailer forecasts profit for the full 2017-18 year slightly ahead of analysts’ expectations

Tesco is buying Booker in the boldest move yet by its chief executive Dave Lewis. Photograph: Getty Images

Tesco is buying Booker in the boldest move yet by its chief executive Dave Lewis. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, on Monday forecast profit for the full 2017-18 year slightly ahead of analysts’ expectations and confirmed it would pay a final dividend.

Ahead of the publication of the circular and prospectus for its £3.7 billion (€4.1 billion) takeover of wholesaler Booker, Tesco said it had traded in line with management expectations since it last updated on January 11th.

Tesco is buying Booker in the boldest move yet by its chief executive Dave Lewis, who took over in 2014, providing the supermarket group with access to the faster growing catering segment of Britain’s £195 billion (€220 billion) food market.

After the deal, the well-regarded Booker boss Charles Wilson will become CEO of Tesco’s retail and wholesale operations in the UK and Ireland.

The current UK boss, Matt Davies, will step down after supporting a handover and leave Tesco at the end of April.

Shareholders

“[Wilson] brings substantial commercial and retail experience and has an exceptional track record of increasing performance and driving growth in customer-focused businesses,” Mr Lewis said.

Tesco shareholders will vote on the deal at a meeting on February 28th and completion is expected to take place on March 5th.

The supermarket group forecast an operating profit before exceptional items of at least £1.575 billion (€1.778 billion) for the year to February 24th, 2018.

That compares to analysts’ current average forecast of £1.564 billion (€1.765 billion), according to Tesco’s website, and £1.28 billion (€1.44 billion) made in 2016-17.

Tesco said it intended to pay a final dividend of two pence per share for the year, having announced an interim dividend of one penny in October.

The interim payment was its first since the 2014-15 year when it was mired in crisis.

– Reuters