The extraordinary story of two billionaire brothers who turned a single gas station in Bury into an empire of 5,900 stores can be unveiled today when they emerged as favorites to buy Asda.
49-year-old Mohsin Issa and his 48-year-old brother Zuber, whose parents came to the UK from India "with nothing", built the EG Group from a site bought in 2001 for £ 150,000 to a £ 9 billion Giants with 35,000 employees.
The brothers are now valued at an estimated £ 3.56 billion, including a £ 25 million townhouse in Kensington and a private jet kept next to Donald Trump's personal helicopter in a hangar at Blackpool Airport.
They are also building five identical mansions just three miles from the £ 115,000 Blackburn Two-Up Two-Down where they grew up. Mohsin is said to live there with his wife Shamim, with whom he shares two adult children.
And in the final phase of their inspiring history, they have now stunned the city by being named the preferred bidder in the battle to buy Asda from Walmart for an expected £ 6.5 billion and return it to UK property.
Mohsin Issa (49) (left) and his brother Zuber (48), whose parents came to the UK from India "with nothing", built the EG Group from a site bought in 2001 for £ 150,000 to a 9 billion Pound giant with 35,000 employees
As the children of immigrants who moved to Blackburn from Gujurat, India in the 1970s, Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who were born in the former mill town, quickly learned the importance of hard work.
Her first business experience was selling gasoline at her parents' gas station, where they came up with their big idea that would revolutionize the industry and make their millions.
Gasoline sales fell and fuel taxes rose, leading to already wafer-thin fuel margins and hundreds of operators to leave the market.
At the time, most garages – if they were selling groceries at all – offered a skimpy selection of prepackaged sandwiches, chips, candy, and chocolate.
The Issas recognized, however, that the sale of fuel still had a purpose to create its own market at petrol stations, where more appetizing food could be offered than the porridge offered elsewhere
The brothers signed franchise agreements with brands like Starbucks, Subway, and KFC before going on a shopping spree to track down previously vacant websites.
You now own Europe's largest forecourt operator, Euro Garages, which had sales of more than £ 17.9 billion in 2019.
The company is now the largest Subway franchisee in Europe and bought a group of 146 KFC stores earlier this year.
Zuber described the secret of their success to the Financial Times: “We wanted to create a destination where you could get fuel, take-away and shop.
'This is the formula and it works. We were lucky that the big players just left the market when we were growing. & # 39;
The £ 115,000 townhouse the brothers grew up in in Blackburn. They were born in the city after their parents moved from Gujurat, India
A bigger view of the street in Blackburn the couple grew up on. Your company is still based in the city
They are now valued at an estimated £ 3.56 billion, including a £ 25 million Kensington townhouse (pictured) and a private jet kept next to Donald Trump's personal helicopter in a hangar at Blackpool Airport
Asda Story: How Britain's Third Largest Supermarket Started As The Yorkshire Family Butcher
1950s: The Asquith family (W. R. Asquith) opened a butcher shop in Knottingly, West Yorkshire, which eventually expanded to seven stores.
1958: You travel to the USA to visit Piggly Wiggly, probably the first supermarket in the world.
1963: The Asquiths open the first UK self-service supermarket in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
The first Asda supermarket opened in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in 1965
1965: Peter Asquith builds his first new supermarket from scratch next to a large parking lot. He knows that cars will change the way people shop. Associated Dairies was set up to run the butcher in the business and the Asda name was born from the combination of ASquith and DAiries.
1966: Asda becomes the first large grocery store selling general goods.
1968: Associated Dairies buys out the Asquith Brothers, but Peter remains a major force in the business.
A newspaper article about one of the first Asda stores
1981 The 100th Asda store was opened that year. Peter Firmston-Williams left the business and John Fletcher became Asda’s new managing director.
1999 Asda is bought by Walmart.
2020 (February): Walmart announces that it is seeking a buyer for Asda so it can focus its attention on competing with Amazon.
TDR Capital – a London-based investment firm behind the gyms We Buy Any Car and David Lloyd – bought a 50% stake in EG Group in 2015. The remaining 50% keep the Issas.
This resulted in a debt-fueled shopping spree that saw the brothers buying thousands of new locations and expanding into eight more countries around the world.
"In your wildest dreams you would never have imagined 5,500 petrol stations in nine markets," said executive Ilyas Munshi to the American trade magazine CSP last year.
"If they only had 20 locations, they would feel like they had their job done."
As proud Lancastrians, the brothers insisted on keeping the EG Group headquarters in Blackburn and recently unveiled a new headquarters for £ 35 million.
"People always ask when we're moving to London or Manchester," Zuber told the FT.
“But the quality of life here is great. A lot of people do a couple of years in London and then come to the North West.
“You want to start a family and you have less pressure. That way we have a lot of fantastic people. & # 39;
Mohasin has a wife Shamim and their son and daughter both work for EG.
Both brothers rarely give interviews and have adopted a low-key public profile.
They are now building five identical "oversized" houses three miles from their children's home.
Despite the fierce opposition, from which the council received 30 letters of complaint, eight old houses have now been demolished and the builders have laid the foundation stone for the five 5,000 square meter villas.
Plans for the large homes on a quiet country lane outside Blackburn, where homes sell for up to £ 1 million, were submitted in April 2018.
They caused a riot, with the characteristics that were described as "not fitting the environment", as the houses with a floor area of 1,500 square meters are over 4.5 meters higher.
However, the building permit was granted and photos taken earlier this year showed that the builders had already moved in.
In 2017, the couple bought a £ 25m mansion in Knightsbridge that, according to real estate agents, could be worth £ 80m if there are planned renovations.
Your listed Georgian house is also at the center of a long-term planning series.
The previous owner began digging a basement, leaving a huge 30-foot-deep crater the size of two tennis courts, which was described by horrified neighbors in Hitler's bunker.
After completion, the 22,000 m² luxury house will have a huge underground car park, a swimming pool, a spa and a cinema.
The brothers donate 2.5% of their income to charity through the Issa Foundation, which funds hospitals and offers free breakfast to children in Lancashire.
They turned out to be favorites to buy from Asda this weekend. Each deal is expected to value the supermarket at around £ 6.5 billion.
Architect's plans for one of the five new homes the brothers are building in the countryside near Blackburn
Plans for the large homes on a quiet country lane outside Blackburn, where homes sell for up to £ 1 million, were submitted in April 2018. You are currently a construction site
Pictured: The houses on Billinge End Road in Blackburn, Lancashire that have been demolished to make way for the new houses
The decision puzzled the city, which believed the owners, US grocer Walmart, were ready to sign a deal with Apollo Global Management led by former Debenhams boss Rob Templeman.
Last week, Lone Star Funds, who worked with former Asda executive Paul Mason, dropped out, seemingly leaving Apollo on a clean run.
It is believed that Walmart was wooed by the Issa's entrepreneurial flair and the potential to bring Asda convenience stores to EG gas stations.
Walmart plans to sell most of its stake in Asda in order to focus on defending its position in the US against Amazon and seizing opportunities in higher growth markets like India.
The Issas are backed by the private equity firm TDR Capital, which has owned half of the EG Group since 2016, and a number of lenders, including Barclays and Lloyds.
Your selection as the preferred bidder for Asda was first announced by Sky News.
Shore Capital's Clive Black said the proposed deal "put raw entrepreneurship and ambition in the driver's seat".
Although the council faced 30 letters of complaint, the new buildings got the green light. In the picture: The eight destroyed houses (left in red) and the new villas that are being built (right in green)
The five new houses will be over 4.5 meters higher than the old houses with 1,500 square meters of floor space
It is believed that Walmart was wooed by Issas' entrepreneurial flair and the potential to bring Asda convenience stores to EG gas stations
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