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    Mohsin Issa denies rift with brother Zuber, says soon to hand over Asda leadership

    Zuber and Mohsin Issa (Photo via LDRS)

    By Bill Jacobs, Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Mohsin Issa, the billionaire owner of Asda, has denied there is a rift with his brother and business partner Zuber.

    The 52-year-old dismissed rumours of disagreements with his younger sibling saying the pair “get on exceptionally well” in a rare interview.

    Speaking to the BBC at the opening of Asda’s 1,000th store in Stevenage he said:

    “We talk to each other probably two or three times a day. We’ve been very, very privileged. We have been on a journey and we have got a long way still to go.”

    The Blackburn-born brothers, who founded their business empire with a single petrol station in Bury in 2001, bought Asda – the UK’s third biggest supermarket – three years ago.

    Recently the chain has faced a series of strikes over pay and conditions while it is under competition pressure from discount rivals Aldi and Lidl.

    Mohsin is in charge of Asda while Zuber runs the brothers’ Blackburn-based EG Group empire which includes some 6,000 convenience and petrol stations across 10 different countries.

    Despite £5bn debt incurred by the purchase of the supermarket chain, Mohsin said he was “here for the long haul”.

    He also revealed he was carrying out a “reset” at the grocer before appointing a chief executive to take over its day-to-day management.

    Mohsin said: “We’ve not done bad to be honest. It surpassed our dreams and visions.”

    On being dubbed Blackburn’s billionaire brothers, he said: “It’s not a tag you want to be associated with, absolutely not. But I suppose that’s what people call it and I suppose it is what it .

    “We have been in the right place at the right time and taken advantage of some of them opportunities.”

    Asked by BBC business correspondent Emma Simpson why the brothers bought Asda, Mohsin, who works six and a half days a week, said: “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,

    “Did I ever think I’d be in a business the size and scale of this? Absolutely not.

    “I just had that vision of running my own business. I always had that determination of trying to control my own destiny.

    “It is challenging. If you get up and if you’re not challenged then I suppose you shouldn’t be doing your job.

    “We’re in a transition period where we’re evolving, but also we’re investing significantly. Market share will fluctuate over a period of time.

    “We feel we’re doing the long-term investment that will help us regain some of that market.

    “When you’re fortunate enough to see the opportunities and have the ability to execute them and be part of a plan and then move on to the next thing then that’s something that I will always look to do.

    “That’s the entrepreneur. That’s in your DNA.”

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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