Merger of supermarket giants moves forward
Shareholders put their stamp of approval on the marriage of supermarket giants Delhaize and Ahold on Monday, 14 March, with an overwhelming percentage of votes at a special meeting backing the merger.
The meeting of Delhaize shareholders, which took place in Brussels, resulted in more than 92 percent voting in favor of Ahold’s acquisition of Delhaize. On Tuesday, 15 March, Belgian authorities gave their approval to the deal on the condition that the new company divest itself of 13 stores in Belgium.
Amsterdam-based Ahold announced its intention to purchase Brussels-based Delhaize for EUR 9.8 billion (USD 10.9 billion) in June 2015. Ahold runs the Stop & Shop and Giant supermarket chains in the United States and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, while Delhaize owns Food Lion and Hannaford in the United States and Delhaize in Belgium. The combined company, to be called Ahold Delhaize, will own more than 6,500 supermarkets in Europe and the United States, employing more than 375,000 workers and serving more than 50 million customers.
“We are excited to receive this overwhelming support from our shareholders for this merger and all other related resolutions,” said Delhaize Chairman Mats Jansson at the meeting. “Today's vote underscores their clear appreciation of the strategic rationale for the combination of our two companies, which will create a stronger and more innovative food retail company, with enhanced scale and increased relevance in local communities. We are moving one step closer to the completion of this merger process, which is expected to take place mid-2016."
In 2015, Delhaize Group posted EUR 24.4 billion (USD 27.1 billion) in revenues and EUR 366 million (USD 407 million) in net profit, while Ahold had EUR 38.2 billion (USD 42.5 billion) in net sales in 2015 and EUR 590 million (USD 656 million) in 2014.
The proposed merger is still being reviewed by U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Upon completion of the merger, Delhaize shareholders will receive 4.75 Ahold ordinary shares for each Delhaize ordinary share. Delhaize Group’s stock is listed on NYSE Euronext Brussels (DELB) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEG), while Ahold’s stock is listed on the Amsterdam (AH).