The European Commission has approved Auchan's acquisition of the seven Hungarian Cora hypermarkets from the Belgian Louis Delhaize Group. Auchan now has nineteen hypermarkets in Hungary, and poses no threat to free competition – says the EC.
Ban on new hypermarkets
Even including Cora's 100 billion forint (350 million euro) turnover, Auchan comes nowhere near the big five in Hungary (Tesco, CBA, Coop, Spar, Reál) and remains in sixth place. The acquisition is of a great strategic significance however, as a ban on new hypermarkets means acquisitions are the only way to expand for chains in Hungary.
The amount Auchan paid for Cora is as yet unknown. Auchan's announcement of the transaction last December only assured that as the Cora hypermarkets will simply be rebranded, the 2,700 employees have no need to fear for their jobs.
CBA eager to take over Match and Profi
Cora's former owners, Belgian Louis Delhaize Group, remain active in
Hungary through their chains Match (121 stores) and Profi (73), although
analysts believe that local chain CBA will launch a bid for the two in
order to replace Tesco as market leaders in Hungary. CBA had already
tried to take over all of Louis Delhaize's Hungarian activities, but had
to leave the hypermarkets to Auchan.