September 14, 2017 / 6:18 AM / 10 months ago

Tesco acquisition target Booker reports Q2 sales up 1.3 pct

Sept 14 (Reuters) - British wholesaler Booker Group, which has agreed a 3.7 billion pound ($4.89 billion) takeover by Tesco, said its second-quarter like-for-like sales rose 1.3 percent helped by strength in catering and retail supply.

Booker said non-tobacco sales grew 6 percent on a like-for-like basis in the 12 weeks to Sept. 8 while tobacco sales fell 9.4 percent, hurt by changes in tobacco legislation. Group sales, including its Budgens and Londis stores, rose by 1.1 percent.

Booker said the competition review of the planned merger with Tesco is progressing and it was currently going through the review process with Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The CMA in July referred supermarket group Tesco’s bid for Booker for a detailed investigation, granting a request from the companies to “fast track” the process, which could last up to 24 weeks.

As well as supplying convenience chains Budgens and Londis and operating the Makro cash and carry business, Booker serves restaurants such as Wagamama and Carluccio’s, a fast-growing market segment that Tesco wants to tap.

Tesco and Booker rejected suggestions in August that their planned merger would hurt suppliers, saying they should benefit from growth and lower costs as a result of the deal.

$1 = 0.7571 pounds Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely

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