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B&M’s billionaire brothers sell £230m stake
14 January 2022, 12:34
An investment company controlled by the Arora family sold 4% of the retailer’s shares on Friday.
The billionaire brothers who built up discount retailer B&M into a nationwide chain have sold more than a quarter of their shares in the company.
An investment company linked to Simon and Bobby Arora said that it had made £234 million selling about 4% of B&M’s shares on Friday.
It reduces the holding of SSA Investments in the company to 7%, at a time when shares are at their highest point since the company listed eight years ago.
The Arora brothers bought what was then a struggling local supermarket chain in 2004 and transformed it.
It had been founded in 1978, but never expanded hugely until the brothers took over.
They built the brand into a discount retailer which targets areas where it can rent shops cheaply.
Based in Luxembourg, but with its distribution centre in Liverpool, the company now has more than 685 stores and employs more than 35,000 people.
It is the second time the brothers have sold a major stake in the business since it listed.
In 2017 they exchanged a quarter of their shares in B&M in a payday that saw them pocket £215 million.
A year ago it was disclosed that the brothers had received dividends worth close to £100 million in a year when the pandemic ripped through the retail sector.
The company was allowed to keep its shops open during lockdowns, they were considered essential.
Despite this the company initially accepted business rates relief that was meant to prop up struggling retailers.
Under public pressure, and following the lead of other retailers who stayed open during the pandemic, B&M said that it would pay its rates.
Listed companies had come under particularly high pressure when they paid dividends to shareholders before returning their rates relief to the Treasury.