Ahold sells confectionery unit, mulls US Foodservice disposals

Related tags Sales Retailing

Ahold has sold its Jamin confectionery retail unit via an MBO as
part of its strategic recovery plan. And UK press reports suggest
it is also considering offloading the US Foodservice arm at the
centre of a €750m fraud investigation.

Dutch retail group Ahold​ has continued the sale of a number of non-core units with the disposal of its Dutch confectionery retail operations, Jamin Winkelbedrijf. The company is also reported to be considering selling some or all of its troubled US Foodservice unit.

Jamin has been sold to its existing management team, which will continue to run the company as an independent entity. The price paid was not disclosed.

Jamin currently operates five wholly-owned stores in the Netherlands, and the sale includes the stores themselves plus their inventory, stocks and debts. The 137 franchise stores will continue to operate under the Jamin name as before, while the 60 associate companies currently working with Jamin will also continue to do so.

"Customers will not notice a significant change, as the company will continue to operate under the same brand name and offer its current range of quality confectionery - some 300 popular pick and mix candy items, ice cream and chocolate delicacies,"​ said Ahold in a statement.

Jamin has been part of Ahold's Dutch store portfolio since 1993, and the sale is part of Ahold's strategic plan to restructure its portfolio to focus on core activities and concentrate on its mature and most stable markets. Ahold said it believed Jamin would grow stronger within an environment specialised in quality confectionery.

Meanwhile, the UK's Financial Times​ newspaper has today reported that Ahold is considering selling some or all of US Foodservice, the distribution unit at the centre of an $880 million (€750m) accounting scandal.

According to the report, the possible disposal is also part of Ahold's debt reduction programme, but it is also likely to be a damage limitation exercise as well - the sooner Ahold can sever its ties with the fraud-ridden company, the better, at least in investors' eyes.

The paper said that the company has already received expressions of interest in a range of assets from private equity and venture capital groups, although Ahold itself refused to comment on the speculation.

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