BusinessCompany NewsMorrisons closer to non-exec appointments

Morrisons closer to non-exec appointments

Supermarket chain Morrisons may finally be close to appointing its first non-executive directors, after trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt gave the go-ahead for its proposed purchase of rival Safeway.

Morrisons is currently the only FTSE100 company to have no non-executive directors on its board. This was due to change with the planned acquisition of Safeway, but the deal was complicated when other supermarket suitors, including J Sainsbury, Asda owner Wal-Mart and Tesco expressed an interest in their rival in January.

The potential purchases were referred to the Competition Commission, and last week it reported that only the Morrisons deal would be allowed to continue on the condition that 53 stores were sold as part of the agreement.

However any deal could still take some time to be completed, if it happens at all. Despite previously brokering a deal with Morrisons then advising shareholders to reject it once other interest surfaced, Safeway has said that it is consulting advisers on these issues.

The board said it had ‘great confidence in the intrinsic strengths of Safeway’s business and the value of its predominantly freehold property’.

Morrisons will be hoping for a resolution to the situation before its financial year-end in February, by which point the company must adopt the combined code on corporate governance and would be required to explain why it has no non-executive directors.

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