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Ahold, Delhaize Complete Merger

Following its successful July 23 merger, which became effective the next day, Ahold Delhaize officially starts trading on Euronext Amsterdam and Euronext Brussels. The merged company is now one of the world’s largest food retail groups.

“Today is the start of an important new chapter and a unique opportunity to deliver even more for customers and communities, associates and shareholders,” said Dick Boer, CEO of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize. “Building on common values, complementary operations and proud legacies of success, we move forward with leading positions, particularly on the United States East Coast and in Europe. Our strong e-commerce businesses and 22 great local brands each share a passion for delivering great food, value, and innovation for customers, and for making a difference in their local communities.”

"With our new leadership team we look forward to continuing to deliver for our customers and other stakeholders," said Boer at the July 23 signing of the merger deed.  "The moment to merge has never been more right, and we are confident that we will deliver even more for customers, communities and investors," added Delhaize CEO Frans Muller.

"Today is an historic day, as we are now really bringing together these two great companies, creating an even stronger international food retailer," noted Delhaize Group Chairman Mats Jansson. "We are completing this international transaction with great momentum and a high level of readiness."

Observed Jan Hommen, Ahold supervisory board chairman, "Ahold Delhaize is ready for a strong start, building on its strong foundation, heritage and complementary businesses."

The combined company’s roots go back nearly 150 years. Operating in 11 countries on three continents, it has a total workforce of more than 375,000 associates. Ahold Delhaize's new logo and brand identity are available online.

To address FTC concerns regarding competition, Ahold and Delhaize divested 86 stores earlier this month, selling the locations to such buyers as Supervalu, Publix, Weis Markets, Big Y and Tops. At the time that the divestment was made known, Muller said that “our new company scale will enable us to accelerate our local-market strategies to better serve our customers with nearly 2,000 stores along the East Coast in the United States.”

‘Good Sales Momentum’

In related news, Delhaize Group’s preliminary unaudited second-quarter results showed revenue growth of 4.3 percent at identical exchange rates and comparable-store sales growth of 2.9 percent (3.9 percent real growth) in the United States, excluding a positive calendar impact of 0.3 percent.“Delhaize America continued to experience good sales momentum both at Food Lion and at Hannaford, while inflation remained negative,” said Muller. Second-quarter

U.S. revenues rose by 2.9 percent to $4.6 billion, underlying operating profit increased 7.6 percent in local currency and underlying operating margin was 4.1 percent, versus 3.9 percent in the prior year.For the first half of 2016, Delhaize Group’s revenues increased 4.3 percent at identical exchange rates, while U.S. comps grew 2.7 percent, excluding a 0.1 percent negative calendar impact. U.S. revenues increased 2.4 percent in local currency, underlying operating profit of U.S. operations rose 6.9 percent to $363 million and the underlying operating margin was 4 percent, compared with 3.9 percent in the year-ago period.

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