Morrisons CFO steps down ahead of major refinancing

// Morrisons chief financial officer Michael Gleeson has resigned ahead of a major supermarket refinancing
// Morrisons owner CD&R raised £6.6billion in loans to buy the supermarket at the end of last year which is in need of refinancing. However, the debt market has crashed since Russia invaded Ukraine last month.

Morrisons chief financial officer Michael Gleeson has resigned ahead of a major refinancing of the supermarket following its takeover by Clayton, Dubilier and Rice (CD&R).

Gleeson, who has worked at Morrisons for eight years, said it was “a good time for me to take on a new challenge”.

He joined Morrisons in 2014 as group financial controller and rose through the ranks before taking on the role of chief financial officer in 2020 when former incumbent Trevor Strain became chief operating officer.

CD&R scooped up £10billion from Morrisons in October last yearthe acquisition being funded by £3.4 billion of equity raised and a further £6.6 billion of loans requiring refinancing.

READ MORE: Morrisons under growing pressure as buyout debt costs pile up

Morrisons delayed the planned refinancing due to the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant late last year.

Since then, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has all but halted new large-scale bond issuance and depressed prices of existing debt.

Bonds issued last year by Asda following its own takeover by the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR are now trading at a discount of around 10% to face value, according to the FT.

However, Morrisons is seen by credit analysts as a higher risk borrower than Asda because it will operate with more debt relative to its earnings.

Morrisons chief executive David Potts said Gleeson had made “significant contributions to the business over the past eight years. “He leaves us with our sincere thanks and our best wishes for his future endeavours.”

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