Co-op to sell off farms as losses predicted to exceed £2bn

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

The troubled Co-op Group is selling off its farms business
The troubled Co-op Group is selling off its farms business

Related tags The co-operative group British co-operative movement Somerfield Co-op group

The troubled Co-op Group is selling off its farms in a bid to reverse mounting losses, predicted to exceed £2bn.

The business announced today (February 26): “As part of the wider strategic review of all of its businesses, the Co-operative Group has decided that its farms are non-core and has started a process that is expected to lead to a sale of the business.

Farms are ‘non-core’

“In addition, it is exploring options for the future of the pharmacy business; this could include the sale in whole or part of the business.”

The news came as the BBC predicted the business was about to reveal losses last year of more than £2bn. The losses were said to arise from both the Co-op’s bank, which was rescued at the end of last year, and a write-down in the value of stores it acquired with the Somerfield takeover five years ago.

The group has long referred to itself as ‘Britain’s biggest farmer’ and runs 14 UK farmers, covering 20,243ha.

The Co-op’s 750 pharmacies achieved revenues of £764M in 2012.

Full-year results for the business will be announced on March 26.

The groceries code adjudicator Christine Tacon​ is a former director of the Co-op’s farms business.

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