Nisa will be competing against its own shareholders when it opens an office in Northern Ireland following a failed takeover of Food Force Ireland (FFI) earlier this year.

Nisa had attempted to take over the local trading office for Nisa members, but the offer was “unanimously rejected” by FFI members, who are all Nisa shareholders, a source told Convenience Store.

“Nisa now wants to launch its own office in Northern Ireland to compete against its own shareholders. So it’s now all-out war,” he added. “FFI has the support of its suppliers. It has been in existence for 25 years, and provides a valuable route to market for Northern Ireland suppliers.”

Nisa chief operating officer Amanda Jones said a unified offer would have been easier for members and “more compelling for potential recruits”.

“Nisa has for some time been seeking to unify the sourcing of products, currently split between FFI and Scunthorpe, for the mutual benefit of its members,” she added.

“Discussions have been held with the board of FFI over the past four months, but regrettably no agreement has been reached. Nisa will therefore explore other opportunities in Ireland, both Northern and the Republic, and will convene a series of presentations to its members and suppliers at which executives will be able to outline our plans in full.”