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Laois family business sold to major retail group

4 Aces Wholesale Limited, a Portlaoise family owned business, has been sold to a major retail group.

BWG Group has agreed terms to acquire 4 Aces, which is an independent wholesaler and a member of the Gala Retail Group, for an undisclosed sum.

It supplies more than 1,500 independent retail, food service and licensed trade customers in the midlands. Its customer base includes a network of Gala convenience stores.

The transaction is subject to approval from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

BWG is already the owner of SPAR, EUROSPAR, Londis, MACE, and XL.

BWG, whose CEO is Leo Crawford, is 80pc-owned by stockmarket-listed Spar South Africa.

As part of the transaction, Gala Retail – the independent convenience retailing group established in 1998 with a network of 220 Gala Group stores nationwide – has accepted BWG’s application for membership of the Gala wholesaler network.

4 Aces, which reported a turnover of €57.5 million for 2016 and employs 85 staff, is a family-led business that is currently owned by Liam Linden and Pascal O’Brien.

The company has wholesale operations in Portlaoise, Navan and Clonmel from where it directly supplies over 1,500 independent retail, foodservice and licensed trade customers throughout the midlands.

It is being reported that both Linden and O’Brien will be remaining with the company following the acquisition and it will be business as usual for employees, customers and suppliers.

The company will continue to trade under the 4 Aces and Better Deal brand names and be run by the existing management team.

BWG has a turnover of approximately €1.4 billion and through its network of 20 Value Centre branches, Foodservice depots, and National Distribution Centre, the Group is one of Ireland’s leading wholesalers.

It will seek to grow the 4 Aces business and enhance its service to customers, including its Gala retailer network, by leveraging BWG’s wholesale experience, expertise and buying power, along with its market leading supply chain.

The acquisition will provide BWG with a new trading relationship with the Gala convenience stores that are currently serviced by 4 Aces, in addition to the other 1,040 SPAR, EUROSPAR, MACE, LONDIS and XL branded stores that BWG supplies from its wholesale operations.

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.