Solna, Sweden - ICA has reached an agreement with Lagopus Eiendomsutvikling AS, a consortium consisting of four companies regarding the transfer of 22 lease agreements and 8 properties. ICA will close all ICA Maxi stores in Norway and thereafter transfer the lease agreements and properties to Lagopus. This agreement follows ICA’s announcement in 2011 to divest the Norwegian ICA Maxi stores and their properties.
“This is an important step in streamlining our operations in Norway. We are very pleased with the deal and can now focus all our energy on our streamlined, two banner strategy in Norway,” says Per Strömberg, the newly appointed CEO of ICA.
The sale is preliminarily expected to generate a capital gain on the properties of approximately NOK 200 million as well as a capital loss on the leases, including impairment of goodwill and store equipment, of approximately NOK 100 million. After the sale of inventory and costs for restructuring the stores the transaction is expected to have some negative effect on earnings for the ICA Group. The sale will be reported in the second quarter of 2012.
The transfers are expected to take place during the second half of this year. At that time Lagopus will assume the existing lease agreements and properties without taking over the day-to-day business. The agreement is subject to the consent of 14 landlords, 8 ICA Maxi tenants reside in properties owned by the ICA Group.
The ambition is that all of the 1,100 employees of ICA Maxi in Norway will be offered new employment. Out of these, at least two thirds will be offered positions in Norgesgruppen's stores and other companies in the Lagopus consortium. In collaboration with the unions affected, ICA Norway will try to find satisfactory solutions for those who do not immediately obtain new employment.
The new consortium, Lagopus Eiendomsutvikling AS, is 35% owned by Norgesgruppen, 25% by Profiér, 25% by Solist and 15% by Guardian Capital.