Pernod Ricard has announced that it has has sold its retail subsidiary BWG Group Limited (BWG), to Electra Partners Europe (Electra).

Under Electra's ownership the existing management of BWG, led by Leo Crawford, will continue with the business.

Pernod Ricard will receive €220m from Electra, of which €15 million is in the form of a loan note. Adjusting BWG's profits onto a normalised basis, Pernod Ricard estimates that in 2001 BWG would have had an EBIT of approximately €31m.

Patrick Ricard, Pernod Ricard Chairman & CEO said: "BWG was the last significant asset in our programme of disposal of non-core businesses. Pernod Ricard will now be operating as a pure player in the spirits and wine sector."

The proceeds will be used to pay down borrowings incurred to purchase Seagram's spirits and wine business.

In an inter-linked transaction Electra is also purchasing a majority shareholding in Newhill Limited which owns approximately 115 SPAR stores mainly in the Dublin area.

BWG is an Irish and British wholesale distribution business, providing goods and services to the retail grocery trade, licensed and catering outlets. BWG also owns or has the franchise rights to various branded stores, including SPAR in the Republic of Ireland, SPAR in south-west England and Bargain Booze in Great Britain. BWG also operates a network of cash and carries in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Pernod Ricard was advised in the sale by Société Générale.

The sale is conditional principally on the consent of the relevant regulatory authorities and is expected to complete during the course of the summer, Pernod said in a statement.