The Co-op Group says it will contest a £450m legal claim from the liquidators of The Food Retailer Operations Ltd, relating to the Somerfield chain of supermarkets.
The Group purchased Somerfield in 2009 for £1.565bn, and sold it in 2016 to The Food Retailer Group Limited, part of retail investor Hilco’s group.
“Co-op strongly disputes both liability and quantum of the claim and the claim will be vigorously defended,” a statement from the Group said.
The retailer announced it was facing the claim in an announcement to the stock exchange last week.
It said: “The Group, and certain of its subsidiaries (Co-operative Group Food Limited, Co-operative Foodstores Limited and Rochpion Properties (4) LLP) are aware that a claim has been issued by the liquidators of The Food Retailer Operations Limited in connection with transactions which took place in 2015 and 2016 relating to the Somerfield supermarket business acquired by Co-op in 2009.”
The Group added that the amount claimed is more than £450m, plus “further unquantified amounts of interest and costs”.