Zaandam, the Netherlands, December 21, 2021 – Ahold Delhaize announces today that bol.com, its online retailer in the Benelux, enters into a strategic alliance with delivery expert Cycloon. The parties intend to jointly accelerate the growth of Cycloon and share the ambition to make delivery more sustainable and social. The current management of Cycloon will be continued and the existing shareholders of Cycloon will remain involved as shareholders. The transaction, in which bol.com acquires a majority stake, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022 and is subject to advice from the relevant works council and customary approvals.
With the growth of the e-commerce and related logistics sector, challenges are increasing in terms of delivery capacity and impact on the environment and infrastructure. The partnership with bol.com allows Cycloon to substantially accelerate its mission of green and social delivery, creating a future-proof position with strong growth opportunities in a competitive market. For bol.com, the partnership ensures that a greater proportion of packages can be delivered by bicycle and that the online retail platform can offer customers the best service in delivery.
Green and social
With its national network of bicycle couriers and postal delivery staff, Cycloon sends mail and packages to thousands of customers throughout the Netherlands. The company already saves 1600 tons of CO2 annually and currently employs 600 people with a physical, mental or psychological distance to the labor market who receive additional guidance from a job coach. Management and shareholders remain fully committed to Cycloon's social culture and sustainable mission to grow the organization and create new jobs. Cycloon looks forward to continuing the delivery of mail and packages for current and new customers, as well as delivering packages for bol.com, after the completion of the transaction. This will include packages from bol.com itself as well as packages from sales partners who store their items in the distribution centers of bol.com.
Marieke Snoek, Managing Director Cycloon: "The partnership with bol.com gives us the opportunity to make an impact on a much larger scale. We will continue to invest in our people, network and partners and this will enable us to improve and further expand the services we provide to our current and new customers. In doing so, we discussed at length the principles we stand for and continue to stand for as organizations."
Accelerate sustainable and flexible delivery
Bol.com has ambitious sustainability goals and the collaboration with Cycloon contributes substantially to this. Vincent Weijers, Director of Logistics & Operations (COO) at bol.com: "We are huge believers in Cycloon’s sustainable and social mission. At the same time, it is an unique opportunity for bol.com and its sales partners to accelerate the sustainability of our growing parcel delivery business and expand our delivery capacity. Next to that, we can further improve the convenience and service for our customers with flexible and smart delivery. Moving towards a sustainable and socially responsible last mile is crucial for the future of e-commerce and we will continue to work with all our delivery partners to make this happen. With a majority stake in Cycloon, we are taking another step towards our stated ambition of reducing our direct footprint to 0 grams of CO2 emissions per package by 2025."
Wouter Kolk, CEO Ahold Delhaize Europe & Indonesia, said, “I am proud of the strategic partnership we have accomplished together. It gives both organizations the opportunity to grow in a sustainable way. Investing in and improving the so-called 'last mile' of the delivery of online orders, and making it more sustainable, sits high on the agenda within our strategy. Working with Cycloon can contribute to having bol.com customers shop however, whenever and wherever they would like."
Terms and process
The transaction is subject to customary conditions, including approval from the relevant authorities, coordination with trade unions and advice from the works council. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2022, provided all conditions are met. Four years after the transaction, bol.com will acquire the remaining shares. Cycloon will then also continue to exist as an independent brand.
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