AF Blakemore has completed its takeover of fellow Spar wholesaler Capper & Co.

The acquisition creates an organisation with a combined turnover of £1.1bn, serving 1,096 Spar stores including 331 company-owned outlets in the Tates and Waynes Food Stores chains.

Although Cappers will continue to trade as a separate division of Blakemores, the two companies will now begin a gradual integration process. Cappers managing director Robert Upton and chairman Bill Capper will join the Blakemores main board.

Upton has written to retail customers assuring them it is “business as usual” and that any changes to processes and procedures will be in order to adopt best practice from across the two companies. Retailers are being invited to a series of regional meetings to explain the implications of the merger.

Blakemores confirmed to C-Store that there are no plans to close any of the enlarged company’s three distribution facilities – located in Wilenhall, West Midlands; Pontyclun in South Wales; and Hastings, East Sussex – or to change retailers’ supply routes. However, a larger range of products are expected to be made available to Capper & Co customers as a result of the integration.

AF Blakemore group managing director Peter Blakemore said: “This is a great opportunity to bring two long established, family-owned businesses together and allow us to move forward in the growing UK convenience store sector.

“AF Blakemore and Capper & Co are similar companies that already have a shared history and a common set of values. The two businesses currently operate in regions adjacent to each other and this will allow for many benefits to be realised, particularly in areas of trading and distribution.

“The Spar organisation has been built upon the ethos of working together to achieve mutual benefit and this news represents a natural progression of this approach. Both companies will bring examples of best practice and the aim is to identify the best of both businesses to create one great organisation.”

Bill Capper added: “I believe that integration with A.F. Blakemore & Son is the right way forward for Capper & Co. It will strengthen Spar in the UK and bring many opportunities and benefits to the business.”

Capper & Co recorded a turnover of £289m and a profit of £2.1m for the financial year 2009-10. Finance for the acquisition was provided by Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets and Barclays Corporate.