Bulgaria's AP Mart, owner of local Carrefour supermarkets to merge operations

SOFIA (Bulgaria), November 10 (SeeNews) – Bulgaria's AP Mart and CMB Bulgaria, the owner of the Carrefour supermarkets in the Balkan country, have agreed to merge their supermarket operations in a 50/50 joint venture, the two companies said on Monday.

In June, AP Mart completed the acquisition of the local Piccadilly supermarket chain from Belgium's Delhaize Group.

The merged entity will operate 75 supermarkets with a combined annual turnover of 452 million levs ($288 million/231 million euro) for 2013 and over 3,000 employees, the two companies said in a joint statement.

“The strategy of the new entity will be focused on expanding the store network, as well as on the successful integration of the two brands in order to achieve a high product and service quality at optimal prices for the end customers,” the statement said.

The merger deal will be finalized after it is cleared by Bulgaria's competition authority.

The two partners have also agreed a capital increase by 46 million levs with half of the amount to be raised this year and the remainder set for 2015. The move aims to ensure further support and stabilization of the joint business as well as to improve the terms and conditions for payments to suppliers, the statement said.

(1 euro=1.95583 Bulgarian levs)

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