Costcutter is understood to have completed a refinancing deal with Icelandic bank Kaupthing to help fund a major store acquisition programme.

The move is believed to have given Kaupthing a 20% share in Costcutter. Although the symbol group declined to confirm or deny whether a deal has taken place, it told C-Store that the shareholding of its four main directors - Colin Graves, Nick Ivel, David Thompson and Angela Barber - amounted to only 80% of the company. 

As C-Store went to press, Costcutter retailers had heard nothing from head office on the subject.
Costcutter has publicly stated its aim to make a large number of acquisitions to build its estate of licensed stores, which are run by independent retailers under a franchise arrangement. Executive chairman Colin Graves told C-Store: "We will be going down the acquisition route as a quick way of growing the business. There are plenty of good sites out there and we wouldn't want to see Tesco and Sainsbury buying them all up."

Costcutter has 105 licensed stores, and to help control its expected growth the group has restructured its senior management, including recruiting former Co-op Group food stores chief Malcolm Hepworth as a non-executive director. He is expected to spend about two days a month with the group, but has a flexible contract to allow him to dedicate more time to Costcutter should the need arise.

Graves said: "Malcolm has a great track record, with wide experience in both trading, ranging and distribution."
In a further change, Costcutter's former finance and IT director Nick Ivel has become managing director of the symbol group.