Zaandam, the Netherlands, March 23, 2017 – Ahold Delhaize today announced its Belgian subsidiaries have reached agreements to divest four stores and one project in Belgium. The divestments, in addition to the sales agreements announced on March 13, are made to comply with the conditions that the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) attached to its approval of the merger of Ahold and Delhaize Group in 2016.
Carrefour has agreed to buy one Albert Heijn store and two Delhaize affiliated stores, as well as one project. Independently and separately, an independent supermarket entrepreneur has agreed to buy one store from Albert Heijn.
The agreements are subject to customary closing conditions. Upon fulfillment of these conditions, the stores are expected to be transferred within approximately three months. The current labor and working conditions of the associates will be respected in accordance with Belgian labor laws and regulations.
The BCA approved the merger of Ahold and Delhaize Group on March 15, 2016, conditional upon the divestment of eight Albert Heijn stores, five Delhaize affiliated stores and a limited number of projects in Belgium to address competition concerns raised by the regulator.
A full list of the store locations referred to in this press release is included as an annex (see attachment).
Ahold Delhaize continues to work in close cooperation with the BCA and potential buyers to complete the divestment process for the remaining stores included in the package as agreed with the regulator.
Ahold Delhaize is uniquely positioned to serve the Belgian market with two brands successfully serving the Belgian customer, each providing distinctive benefits to their customers.
Delhaize Le Lion has a strong history and heritage with 150 years of existence and is recognized for the quality of its products, its qualitative and large assortment, its fresh and local products, and its attractive shopping experience. Delhaize Le Lion is the strong leading and local brand, and has over 700 stores.
Albert Heijn has successfully entered the Flemish market building on its Dutch heritage and has notably been appreciated for its attractive promotions and distinctive assortment. In the meantime, the brand has grown to a network of 42 stores in Flanders.
In the next few years, our key priority is to make our leading brand Delhaize the favorite supermarket of the Belgians, winning the hearts and minds of customers and become the best retailer in Belgium. Delhaize Le Lion is strengthening its customer proposition, investing in its offer and customer experience, while staying true to its heritage. We are convinced of the outcome of this journey and there is opportunity for growth in Belgium. Delhaize customers will increasingly benefit from the strength of our group including its merchandise and e-commerce capabilities, bringing the best of both Delhaize and Albert Heijn to our customers in Belgium.
Once the ongoing strengthening of Delhaize Le Lion is completed in the eyes of the customer, the natural next phase is to integrate all Ahold Delhaize Belgium supermarket activities into Delhaize Le Lion. In the meantime, Albert Heijn will continue to open stores in Flanders.
The Ahold Delhaize Management Board will assess the readiness for integration in the first half of 2019.