Zaandam, The Netherlands – Ahold today published its summary report for the second quarter and first half of 2015. Highlights of the second quarter are:
- Sales of €8.7 billion, up 17.1% (up 3.1% at constant exchange rates)
- Sales excluding gas up 4.8% at constant exchange rates
- Underlying operating margin of 3.8%, down 0.1 percentage points
- Strong free cash flow of €367 million, up €297 million
- Sales in the Netherlands up 6.8%, due to a strong performance by Albert Heijn and the impact of growth initiatives, resulting in increased transactions and higher volumes
- Sales in the United States excluding gas up 2.1%, reflecting an improved customer proposition
- Consumer online sales up 22.8% (at constant exchange rates), driven by ongoing investments
- Ahold and Delhaize announced their intention to merge on June 24, 2015, combining two highly complementary businesses
Analyst conference call - webcast
CEO Dick Boer said: "We had a strong quarter and are pleased with the financial performance across our business. We grew sales, operating income and net income and delivered strong free cash flow.
"In the Netherlands, Albert Heijn continued its strong sales momentum with more transactions and higher volumes, increasing its market share this quarter versus one year ago. Our market-leading Dutch online businesses Albert Heijn Online and bol.com achieved combined consumer sales growth of more than 30% and we continue to invest in future growth. In the United States, we continue to focus on improving our customer proposition and remain on track with the implementation of our program to provide better quality and value to our customers. For the fourth consecutive quarter, we grew volume market share in the United States and our margins were resilient, as a result of ongoing cost control. In the Czech Republic, we saw improved sales, primarily driven by our Albert supermarkets, with profitability temporarily affected by the SPAR acquisition, as per our previous guidance.
"Looking ahead, we remain confident in our outlook for the business and are on track to deliver a full-year performance in line with expectations. We are excited about the agreement with Delhaize, which brings together two highly complementary businesses to create a stronger, international food retailer for the benefit of our customers, associates and shareholders."
No offer or solicitation
This communication is being made in connection with, amongst others, the proposed business combination transaction between Koninklijke Ahold N.V. also known as Royal Ahold (“Ahold”) and Delhaize Group (“Delhaize”). This communication is not intended to and does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to subscribe for or buy or an invitation to purchase or subscribe for any securities or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction in connection with the proposed transaction or otherwise, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and applicable Dutch, Belgian and other European regulations. This communication is not for release, publication or distribution, in whole or in part, in or into, directly or indirectly, any jurisdiction in which such release, publication or distribution would be unlawful.
Important additional information will be filed with the SEC
In connection with the proposed transaction, Ahold will file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) a registration statement on Form F-4 that will include a prospectus. The prospectus will be mailed to the holders of American Depositary Shares of Delhaize and holders of ordinary shares of Delhaize (other than holders of ordinary shares of Delhaize that are non-U.S. persons (as defined in the applicable rules of the SEC). INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROSPECTUS AND OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED OR TO BE FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT AHOLD, DELHAIZE, THE TRANSACTION AND RELATED MATTERS. Investors and security holders will be able to obtain free copies of the prospectus and other documents filed with the SEC by Ahold and Delhaize through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. In addition, investors and security holders will be able to obtain free copies of the prospectus and other documents filed by Ahold with the SEC by contacting Ahold Investor Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +31 88 659 5213, and will be able to obtain free copies of the prospectus and other documents filed by Delhaize by contacting Investor Relations Delhaize Group at Investor@delhaizegroup.com or by calling +32 2 412 2151.
This communication contains forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management's current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance, or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These statements or disclosures may discuss goals, intentions and expectations as to future trends, plans, events, results of operations or financial condition, or state other information relating to Ahold, based on current beliefs of management as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. Forward-looking statements generally will be accompanied by words such as “anticipate," "believe," "plan," "could," "estimate," "expect," "forecast," "guidance," "intend," "may," "possible," "potential," "predict," "project" or other similar words, phrases or expressions. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s control. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: the occurrence of any change, event or development that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement; the ability to obtain the approval of the transaction by Ahold’s and Delhaize’s shareholders; the risk that the necessary regulatory approvals may not be obtained or may be obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated; failure to satisfy other closing conditions with respect to the transaction on the proposed terms and time frame; the possibility that the transaction does not close when expected or at all; the risks that the new businesses will not be integrated successfully or promptly or that the combined company will not realize the expected benefits from the transaction; Ahold’s ability to successfully implement and complete its plans and strategies and to meet its targets; risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to the proposed transaction; the benefits from Ahold’s plans and strategies being less than anticipated, risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to the proposed transaction; the effect of the announcement or completion of the proposed transaction on the ability of Ahold to retain customers and retain and attract employees who are integral to the success of the business; maintain relationships with suppliers, and on their operating results and businesses generally; litigation relating to the transaction; the effect of general economic or political conditions; fluctuations in exchange rates or interest rates; increases or changes in competition; changes in Ahold’s liquidity needs; the actions of competitors and third parties business and IT continuity; collective bargaining; distinctiveness; competitive advantage and economic condition; information security; legislative and regulatory environment and litigation risks; product safety; pension plan funding; strategic projects; responsible retailing; insurance and unforeseen tax liabilities and other factors discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures.
Furthermore, this communication contains Ahold forward-looking statements as to continued focus on customer proposition and the implementation of Ahold's program to provide better quality and value to its customers, outlook for the business, delivery of a full-year performance in line with expectations, acquisition by Stop & Shop New York Metro of A&P stores, investments in online business, , higher pension costs, margin dilution by the SPAR acquisition in the Czech Republic, financial and operational performance, cost savings and cost control, the effect of improvements in accounting standards on the consolidated financial statements of Ahold and the return of former C1000 stores by Ahold to Jumbo.
The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Investors and shareholders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this communication. Ahold does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this communication to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by applicable laws.
Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of "Royal Ahold" or simply "Ahold."