The Belgian anti-trust authorities have greenlit French supermarket chain Intermarché‘s acquisition of the former Carrefour stores operated by Mestdagh. In one go, the chain more than doubles its presence in Belgium.
Twice the size
As the competition watchdog agrees unconditionally to the acquisition, there is no need to close or sell any of the 89 stores involved in the deal. The authority is of the opinion that the merger is no danger for the free competition in the retail sector in any of the places.
The approval means a great deal for Intermarché, that will welcome the 89 Mestdagh stores into its network on 3 January 2023. Added to the 77 stores the French group already has in Belgium, the deal will more than double its store network in Belgium and create “a new important retail player on the Belgian market”. The stores will remain Carrefour stores until 31 December, however.
The Mestdagh staff is somewhat less eager for the merger, however: the appointment of Guillaume Beuscart as CEO of Intermarché Belgium last month has aroused their suspicion. Beuscart had been responsible for a major restructuring during his first stint at Mestdagh in 2018, leaving staff fearing for their jobs again. In a response, Intermarché says it “understands and shares the impatience of Mestdagh’s employees”, but says they will have to wait for more information until January. The new owner will make its vision for the future clear on a special meeting after the merger is complete, it says.