The Auchan group has announced its acquisition of the seven Hungarian Cora hypermarkets and attached shopping centres from the Belgian Louis Delhaize Group. If the Hungarian authorities allow the deal, the hypermarkets will change hands for an undisclosed amount in the beginning of 2012.
The move comes as a surprise, as last month the Hungarian CBA chain openly stated it was aiming to buy the Coras and Louis Delhaize's other Hungarian chains Match (121 stores) and Profi (73 stores). CBA was eager to buy the three chains in order to pass Tesco as market leader in Hungary.
"Not interested in Profi or Match"
Auchan on the other hand stated it needed to acquire another chain in order to continue its growth in Hungary, after the new government issued a ban on new shopping malls and hypermarkets. Dominique Docoux, Auchan Hungary's CEO, told penzcentrum.hu earlier this year that Auchan "will respect the new law", but that he still considers hypermarkets to be a popular format in Hungary - words that he now turned into action.
Katalin Gillemot, spokesperson for Auchan Magyarország, added that "Auchan only works with hypermarkets in Hungary, so the Profi and Match stores do not fit in our profile." The acquired Coras will be rebranded as Auchans and continue to be operated as hypermarkets.
End of the line after 14 yearsMagyar Hipermarket, the group holding the Hungarian Coras, opened its first hypermarket in 1997 and currently holds three stores in the suburbs of Budapest (Budakalász, Fót, Törökbálint) and four in other major cities (Debrecen, Miskolc, Szeged and Szolnok). Its 2700 employees will find a job within the Auchan group in Hungary, that will 12 to 19 hypermarkets. Auchan currently has 5600 employees and a turnover of 224 billion forint (€ 816 million).