Homeware stores tycoon ‘takes stake in Morrisons’

Bill Adderley, the founder of Dunelm
Bill Adderley, the founder of Dunelm
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THE Yorkshire-born founder of Dunelm homeware stores has reportedly taken a stake in Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons.

According to The Sunday Times, Bill Adderley has bought about 2m shares in Morrisons, which last week announced that David Potts will become its next chief executive. Mr Potts, 57, has more than 40 years’ experience in grocery retailing after beginning his career stacking shelves at Tesco in 1973. Mr Adderley, who was born in Leeds, told The Sunday Times: “My belief is that shopkeepers should run shops.”

A Morrisons spokesman said the company did not comment on transactions.

In a separate development, the UK Shareholders’ Association (UKSA) has criticised Morrisons after the company admitted a technical infringement of the Companies Act.

Morrisons said it “has become aware of certain issues” in respect of the company’s procedures for the payment of dividends and the purchase of its own shares in the financial years that started on January 30 2012 and February 4 2013. While Morrisons has always filed its statutory accounts on time in accordance with the act, and had sufficient profits and other distributable reserves to justify the distributions, the last accounts filed at Companies House in each of the financial years in which the distributions were made did not show the requisite level of distributable profits.

Morrisons is proposing a resolution that will seek shareholder approval of a proposed waiver of any claims which the company may have in respect of the distributions against shareholders and the company’s directors. The UKSA said: “Shareholders should not be expected simply to excuse directors for a basic failure and pick up the costs for doing so.”

A Morrisons spokesman said: “The company did not comply with the technical requirement to prepare and file interim accounts showing these profits. The company’s profits were always correctly recorded in the year-end audited financial statements. We are therefore asking shareholders to ratify the original distributions so that shareholders are put in the position that they were always intended to be in, had the distributions complied with all of the relevant technical requirements. This is consistent with the position taken by other listed companies who have been in similar situations.”