Rewe expands in eastern Europe

Related tags Central europe Austria Eastern europe Slovakia

German retailer Rewe has made two acquisitions in eastern Europe
this week, strengthening its position in the Slovak and Croat
supermarket sectors, writes Chris Jones.

In Slovakia, Rewe has acquired the Delvita chain from Belgian counterpart Delhaize, buying the 11-store chain for €7.7 million. The deal does not include the 97 Czech Delvita stores, which Delhaize said would remain at the heart of its own development in central Europe, which also includes a business in Romania.

Czech group Delvita expanded to Slovakia in 1998, but its stores there accounted for just a handful of the company's sales. Delhaize does not break down sales by country, but its four southern and central European operations (Greece, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania) registered sales of €1.2 billion in 2004, up 2 per cent.

Rewe has been active in Slovakia since 1993 through its Austrian subsidiary Billa, and the 11 Delvita stores are likely to be converted to this fascia, taking the total number of Billa supermarkets in Slovakia to 76. Billa's sales there were €220 million in 2004.

Billa is also Rewe's preferred fascia in Croatia, where it has just bought the Minaco chain, making it the country's second largest food retailer after the Konzum chain. Rewe did not say how much it had paid for the chain, adding simply that Minaco's 26 supermarkets had generated sales of €80 million in 2004, and that their addition would take Billa's Croatian turnover to some €300 million.

Rewe has been active in Croatia since 1999 with its Billa fascia, but the Minaco takeover will give it a dominant position in some parts of the country, notably those east of the capital Zagreb.

Some of the stores acquired by Rewe are currently run on a franchise basis, and the company said that would continue to be run in the same way following the takeover.

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