Property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz (pictured) has sold his 10% stake in supermarket Sainsbury’s. The move was caused by fallout from the financial crisis in Iceland, as a huge sale of foreign assets of Icelandic banks gets underway.
The sale of Tchenguiz’s holding in Sainsbury’s follows the sale of his 25% stake in pub group Mitchell & Butlers, bought by British billionaire Joe Lewis earlier this week.
It is thought that troubled Icelandic bank Kaupthing, understood to be Tchenguiz’s backer, also placed its shares in Sainsbury’s on the market yesterday.
The turmoil caused market confidence in Sainsbury’s to wobble, despite the supermarket reporting a 4.3% rise in like-for-like sales yesterday. The figure, for the 16 weeks up to October 4, was ahead of forecasts.
The sale of Sainsbury’s shares further highlights the potential impact Iceland’s banking crisis on the UK High Street. Despite assurances from Icelandic investment group Baugur that its UK retail businesses are unaffected by the situation, fears are mounting that it could be forced into selling its UK assets, which include fashion retailer Karen Millen, toy specialist Hamley’s and frozen food chain Iceland.