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June 20, 2024
PI Global Investments
Private Equity

Asda can survive higher debt costs, say Issa brothers’ private equity partners

Asked at the hearing in Parliament on Tuesday whether TDR had “backed the right horse”, Mr Lindsay said the Issa brothers were “two of the most successful entrepreneurs the UK’s produced”.

He added: “Mohsin by his own admission was not pleased and not proud of his first performance, or his first attendance rather, in front of the committee.

“I hope based on the evidence that he provided on the 19th of December that he’s rectified that”.

TDR and the Issas were previously criticised by MPs for the complex financial structure and transparency of the Asda group.

Three-quarters of the companies associated with Asda are registered in Jersey, which has a different accounting regime to the UK.

TDR deputy general counsel Emma Gilks, who appeared alongside Mr Lindsay, defended the structure as “extremely transparent”.

She said: “The Asda structure for a business of its size and scale is not unusual. We believe it is entirely appropriate.”

Asda was criticised for charging motorists high fuel prices last year after the Competition and Markets Authority found it had bumped up margins during the cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Lindsay denied it was intentional. He said: “There wasn’t a particular strategy to bump the price of fuel or to make a larger profit on fuel.”

Suggestions that the company was “moving profit around between fuel and food” were wrong, he said.

Mr Lindsay added: “We are incredibly competitive when it comes to price across the business.”

TDR, which employs 85 people, owns 14 businesses including the Stonegate Pub Company.

The portfolio size is unusually small for private equity. Most firms often have dozens of investments.

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