By Jonathan Davies

Tesco has sold its South Korean business for £4.2 billion as part of plans to solidify its balance sheet.

The supermarket said the funds will go towards paying down company debt and boosting its business in the UK.

South Korean firm MBK Partners, a Canadian pension fund and Singapore's Temasek Holdings have teamed up to by Homeplus.

Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, said: "This sale realises material value for shareholders and allows us to make significant progress on our strategic priority of protecting and strengthening our balance sheet."

It is the first major sale Tesco has completed since announcing record losses of £6.4bn for the year to February, which compared with a profit of £2.26bn a year earlier.