Two billionaire brothers raised in a terraced house in Blackburn have bought fast food chain Leon in a deal said to be worth £100million..
The brothers’ petrol forecourt business EG Group, which bought supermarket giant Asda last year, has now secured more than 70 restaurants in the UK and Europe.
The EG Group said the deal was part of "significant growth in its non-fuel and food service operations”.
The brothers are from Blackburn, but their parents Vali and Zubeda initially lived in Bradford after moving to the UK from Gujarat in India during the 1970s to work in the textile industry.
Mohsin, 49, and Zuber, 48, started out in a garage which their dad, who had worked in a woollen mill, bought.
They branched out on their own, first renting a petrol station for two years, then in 2001 buying their first forecourt, a derelict freehold site in Bury, and formed Euro Garages.
Their empire, the EG Group, now has almost 6,000 sites across 10 countries, from the UK to the US and Australia, runs outlets for Greggs, Starbucks and KFC, and employs 44,000 people.
In 2017, it bought 77 Little Chef roadside restaurants.
Zuber said: “We grew (EG) from nothing.
“We’ve been on the pumps, we’ve been stocking the shelves, cleaning the toilets. You do everything.
“And once you do the foundation work, it’s no different wherever you go in the world. It’s a petrol station; you’re selling fuel, you’re selling coffee, you’re selling convenience.”
Mohsin said the company “makes more money selling a cup of coffee than we would do on an average tank fill-up”.
Sources describe the low-profile brothers as humble, with a strong connection to their Blackburn roots.
They have just opened a £35million HQ in the town and in 2012 set-up local football team Euro Garages FC.
But the brothers, worth £3.56billion, have splashed out in other ways.
In 2017 they bought a Grade II listed Georgian townhouse in London’s Kensington for £25million, which is now being converted into a luxury home.
Meanwhile, it is just a 10 minute drive from Blackburn’s terraced streets to wide open spaces of the town’s millionaire’s row overlooking the rolling Lancashire hills.
It is here that the siblings are building five giant homes for them and their relatives.
In a barber shop on a sloping street where they used to live in an end terraced house, the family are fondly remembered.
“They are good people, a very nice family” said one man.
“Zuber used to come in here to have his hair cut. They are good people who worked hard.”
As their petrol station business started to expand after the turn of the millennium, Zuber and Mohsin wanted to stay in the same area and moved with their families to a newly built large detached home just a short five minute stroll away.
Their parents still live in the area, close to the local mosque, but soon it seems they will be joining their sons in a row of five incredible mansions, complete with basement swimming pools, on the edge of the town.
The brothers also set-up the ISSA Foundation which funds projects promoting health and educating and tackling poverty in the UK and abroad and which bought an MRI scanner for Blackburn Royal Hospital.
Mohsin, who is married and with two grown-up children, runs the business day-to-day, while Zuber is responsible for strategy and acquisitions.
The money for the Asda takeover is came from their personal fortunes.
The Asda deal is still awaiting approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which is expected by the summer.
As part of it, Asda’s 323 petrol stations will be sold for £750million to EG Group.
The sale came after a recent mega merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda was blocked on competition grounds.
A man strolling along the Issas old terraced street said: “They have done very well for themselves but they have stayed in Blackburn.
“People have been talking about them buying Asda and are pleased for them.
“They are well like people and have done well. Good luck to them.”