AF Blakemore has completed its takeover of fellow Spar wholesaler Capper & Co (C-Store, March 4). 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 Capper will continue to trade as a separate division of Blakemores, the two companies will now begin a gradual integration process. Capper 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 Willenhall, West Midlands; Pontyclun in South Wales; and Hastings, East Sussex or to change retailers' supply routes. However, a larger range of products is now expected to be made available to Capper & Co customers.

Capper & Co recorded a turnover of £289m and £2.1m profit for the 2009-10 period.

AF Blakemore group managing director Peter Blakemore commented: "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.

"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."