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Ahold Agrees to Sell Stake in ICA

AMSTERDAM — Ahold here said Monday that it has agreed to sell its 60% stake in Scandinavian retailer ICA for about $3.3 billion.

Last year Ahold had launched a strategic review of its options for its stake in ICA, which is the leading food retailer in Sweden and also operates the Rimi chain in Norway and the Baltics. ICA's 2,215 stores generated about $15.1 billion in sales last year.

The buyer is Hakon Invest, which already owns the remaining 40% of ICA.

In a conference call with analysts, Ahold declined to comment on potential uses for the proceeds, saying that such details would be discussed when the deal is completed, pending regulatory approvals. The sale is expected to close “in the middle of the year,” Ahold said.

More news: Van Dam Named Ahold Supply Chain EVP

Analysts were quoted in Bloomberg News report saying that they do not expect Ahold to use the proceeds to make a large acquistion, but instead to return some proceeds to shareholders, possibly in the form of a dvidend, and to invest in its stores and ecommerce businesses. In the U.S., it operates the Stop & Shop, Giant-Landover and GIant-Carlisle chains as well as the Peapod online grocery division.

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