Spar South Africa has made a significant investment in BWG, owner of UK Spar South West distributor Appleby Westward. The company is also the Spar and Mace wholesaler for the Republic of Ireland, as well as owning the Value Centre cash and carry chain.

The deal sees the African distributor investing €55 into a new joint venture company with the current BWG management team. The new joint venture will be owned 80% by SPAR South Africa and 20% by Leo Crawford, John Clohisey and John O’Donnell, and will continue to be led by Crawford as Group CEO. The trio had previously led a buyout of the group from previous owners Electra Partners, with the latest refinancing taking place last year, and the new deal secures a reduction in BWG’s borrowings through a buyback of exiting banks’ debts.

The new partnership will have up to €100 million to invest in the expansion of BWG’s wholesale and convenience retailing operations over the next five years, according to the official statement.

Crawford said: “This is a very positive and exciting development for BWG. In Spar South Africa we have secured a major international retail player as a strategic partner and a long-term investor in our business. We have known Spar South Africa for many years and they are a great fit for BWG. We look forward to working with their team to accelerate the expansion of our operations and the growth of our wholesale and retail businesses in Ireland and the South West of England.”

Spar South Africa Group CEO Graham O’Connor said: “BWG is an excellent strategic fit for Spar South Africa.  Apart from the significant additional financial strength we will bring to the business, the deal will bolster BWG’s purchasing power, deepen our expertise in store formats and design and facilitate knowledge sharing across all aspects of the convenience food retail sector including logistics, warehousing and distribution.”