Co-op Group considers selling farms and pharmacy business amid £2bn losses



The Co-operative Group is considering selling some aspects of its business after seeing huge financial losses in 2013. The organisation has confirmed it is looking into offloading some farms and its pharmacy business.

In a statement, the group said, “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.

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.”

According to the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston, the group’s losses for 2013 are expected to be higher than £2 billion when they are announced next month. This shortfall is thought to largely stem from the group’s banking operations. Chief executive Euan Sutherland has already admitted that last year was the worst in the group’s 150-year history.

The group has previously announced losses of £559m for the first half of 2013, following trouble within its banking division. This led to a recapitalisation plan, which saw private investors, including hedge funds, take a 70% stake in the bank, although the Co-operative Group remains the single largest stakeholder.

Full details of the Co-op’s restructuring aren’t expected to be unveiled until its annual meeting in May.

Further reading:

Co-operative Group turns to customers to help shape its future

Co-operative Group considers repayments as part of bank rescue plan

Campaign group to Co-op customers: ‘don’t switch yet; let’s stick together’

Co-op Group could give up majority control of bank to US hedge funds

Co-operative Group records £559m loss due to struggling banking arm


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