Private equity firm Electra Partners Europe has backed a €220 million management buyout of wholesale distribution firm BWG Group from Pernod Ricard. The management buyout team is being headed by Leo Crawford, Chief Executive of BWG.

Electra said the acquisition was conditional on regulatory approval and would be funded by equity and shareholder funds provided by the Electra European Fund.

The BWG group is made up of five businesses. It owns the franchises to Spar and Mace retail brands in Ireland through BWG Foods and Mace in Northern Ireland through J&J; Haslet. In England, it owns alcohol wholesaler Bargain Booze and Appleby Westward, the Spar wholesaler in the southwest of England, as well as BWG Wholesale, which delivers to independent retailers.

For the year ended December 31 2001, turnover for the group was €2,152 million.

As part of the overall transaction, Electra will purchase Newhill Ltd, which owns 115 Spar stores, mainly in Dublin. Newhill will continue to trade as an independent business, with John Clohisey remaining as Chief Executive.