// The Co-op Group is in talks to sell 130 petrol stations
// The £450m raised from the sale of the forecourts would help reduce Co-op’s net debts
The Co-op Group is in talks to sell 130 of its petrol stations for £450m in a bid to reduce its debts and strengthen its balance sheet as the UK faces record inflation.
Sources said the business was expected to be sold to a trade buyer, with a deal potentially being agreed upon in the coming weeks.
The group, which owns funeral homes and insurance as well as supermarkets, is hoping to reduce its borrowings with the deal at a time when inflation is soaring across the nation and fears of a recession continue, with expectations that it will hamper its profitability.
If the sale of the fuel retailing arm goes ahead, it will be the latest in a series of divisions to have been offloaded by the Co-op over the past decade.
Raising a further £450m from the sale would help tackle the group’s net debt, which skyrocketed to £920m, up from £695m in 2019 and £550m in 2020.
News of the prospective sale comes in the same week that the company announced the appointment of Shirine Khoury-Haq as its first female chief executive in 159 years
Co-op, which employs more than 63,000 people including 4,000 at its head offices, previously warned in April of the impact of inflation after annual profits more than halved amid supply chain disruption and higher staff wages.