Dutch retailer Ahold has strengthened its market share in its most important countries. The group also confirmed it will be buying back a serious amount of its own shares.
Ahold grows through expansion
Ahold saw its sales rise by 4.4% to 10.1 billion euro in the past quarter. The company result dropped by more than 16% to 345 million euro, because of a new agreement about pensions for which Ahold took on a burden of 63 million euro. Underlying the results remained status quo at 416 million euro. Net profits ended up at 1.95 billion euro, 1.75 billion came through the sale of ICA.
CEO Dick Boer also said Ahold gained market share on its most important markets, most importantly in the US. On that market, worth more than half of sales, there was a rise of 3.4%. The takeover of the 15 Genuardi shops is one of the main reasons.
In the Netherlands (including Belgium) there was a growth of 7.5% thanks to rising sales of bol.com, the big expansion in Belgium (new Albert Heijn stores almost doubled in the past year) and the investment in the former C1000/Jumbo shops. On a comparable basis sales grew by 1.8%. The Czech Republic and Slovakia performed less well with a drop in sales of 5.1%. The rise of VAT in the Czech Republic and difficult economic circumstances trouble Ahold.
In the margin of its quarterly update Ahold has also confirmed it will be buying back more of its own shares. Earlier Ahold had already said it would buy back 500 million euro of shares. That number has now been raised to two billion euro of shares by the end of 2014, roughly one sixth of Ahold's total worth.