Garden Centre Group split-up doubts aired as sales documents go out

Industry figures believe the Garden Centre Group (GCG) is unlikely to be split up with the best 15-20 properties sold to Tesco, as reports have suggested this week.

Quinton Edwards director Simon Quinton Smith said: "I can't see how they can split it up - there is probably no demand for the rump of the group." Gilbert Evans director Mike Evans agreed: "I don't think the bank will sell the outlets individually."

Tesco-owned Dobbies managing director James Barnes said of the Sunday Times report, which marked adviser Rothschild sending out sales documents to interested parties this week, was "speculative".

Several private equity firms and retailers have shown interest. GCG's 2010 results are due by 30 September and the sale of the business is expected this year. The group is owned by Lloyds. HW understands the bank wants to sell GCG as a single lot.

A GCG representative said: "Preliminary interest has been strong." He added that GCG will report "robust trading" for 2010 despite "very difficult trading conditions", adding that business for early 2011 was "exemplary".

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