Sainsbury's may consider options to release value from its large estate of freehold stores but will continue to resist pressure to sell it off. Financial Times

The emergence of a Qatari-backed property investment firm as the supermarket’s biggest shareholder, with 25%, last week has created uncertainty about the future of its £8.6bn property assets.

However, until Delta (Two), the Qatari-backed vehicle, makes its intentions fully clear, Justin King, Sainbury’s chief executive, has ruled out a wholesale sell-off or a huge sale-and-leaseback deal, although other options, such as borrowing against the estate’s value, might be possible.

He said: 'The management’s view, supported widely by shareholders, is that splitting the company into property and operating companies is not in the long-term interests of the company – but the management has a completely open view about using property to raise money for the company, as we did last year.'