A successful drinks distribution business keeps 43 year-old Raj Chatha in this year’s Birmingham Post Rich List.
Raj Chatha runs the consistently profitable European Food Brokers Ltd – part of EFB Holdings – in Walsall – a business that turns over more than £115 million a year and includes the Two Ticks cash and carry, Whittalls Wines and Simply Drinks among others. The group is valued at around £90 million.
EFB, with headquarters in the unforgettably-named Chateau Pleck in Darlaston Road, made a profit before tax of £2.01 million in the year to January 2013, slightly down on the previous years £3.53 million, reflecting the challenging trading environment. Nonetheless, margins were maintained.
Raj Chatha’s father was an immigrant from the Punjab who became a retailer in Halifax, West Yorkshire.
His son set up his wholesale business in 1991 from scratch, with no help from his family or the banks.
With a work ethic of long hours and business focus he achieved success quickly. In 2001 he set up a successful retail club for independent sellers, and in 2009 he bought 12 branches of Unwins and 109 shops from the failed Wine Seller chain for two million pounds.
He saved 200 jobs at wine retailer Oddbins when he acquired 37 shops from administrators Deloitte.
With bases in Halifax and Gateshead as well as Walsall, EFB is now one of the largest family-owned independent drinks distributors in the UK.