The Nisa Members' Association (NMA) has categorically denied that it is planning to wrest control of Nisa-Today's from the current holdings board.

However, it remains committed to blocking the proposed merger between Nisa-Today's and Costcutter and says it is trying to force the Nisa-Today's board to improve its corporate governance.

In an exclusive interview with C-Store, NMA treasurer and managing director of Filco Supermarkets Ian Hunt said that the NMA remained confident of delivering enough votes to stop the merger when the members finally get their say at the end of next month.

Hunt confirmed that support for the NMA remained strong despite public criticism in recent weeks from other Nisa retailers, and its split from symbol groups Redorange and Select & Save.

"We have more than 300 members who have declared their support and are backing us with money. This includes many small retailers who have donated up to £1,000 for the cause," Hunt declared.

Although not wanting to take over the running of Nisa-Today's, the NMA does expect to have a major say in the future direction of the company should the members vote down the merger.

Hunt explained: "There should have been a NMA-style organisation in place from the beginning of Nisa. But back then the members were happy and confident that the board was getting the best possible prices for the members - this is no longer the case."

He said that should the merger vote go against the board it would be seen as a vote of no confidence in its management, who would risk failure to be re-elected at the AGM following the merger EGM. "We want a clean white sheet of corporate governance," he added.