BELGIUM: Delhaize Group Has Solid Q2; Updates On Ahold Merger

Delhaize has reported solid sales growth for its fiscal second quarter, even as it offered a new update for the timeline of its merger with Ahold.

For the quarter, revenue was up 2.8% to €6.29bn (+4.3 constant-currency basis), while underlying operating profit grew by 10.4% to €247m (+12.1% constant-currency).

In Belgium, sales were up 2.6% to €1.29bn, on like-for-like growth of 2.1%.  Sales in the US edged up 0.7% to €4.06bn, but they were up 2.9% on a dollar basis, with LFL sales also up 2.9%. And in Southeastern Europe, sales jumped up 13.4% to €939m (+14.2% constant-currency), with LFL sales up 8.7%.

CEO Frans Muller said the group was “pleased with the results”, noting that the group also “generated €258m of operating free cash flow (excluding Transformation Plan and merger related costs)”.  He added the group continues to expect to deliver €400m of free cash flow for the year, excluding costs related to the Plan and the Ahold merger.

Muller also said Delhaize expects to complete the merger with Ahold on 23 July 2016, subject to clearance from the US Federal Trade Commission.