Delhaize Group (Euronext Brussels: DELB - NYSE: DEG), the Belgian international food retailer, announced today that it has entered into a non-binding Letter of Intent with BI-LO, LLC to acquire a substantial majority of BI-LO's assets, including associated inventory, for a purchase price of USD 425 million in cash. This announcement was made in the context of BI-LO's bankruptcy proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina.
BI-LO is a food retailer that currently operates 214 stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia and employs approximately 15,500 people. The company is headquartered in Mauldin, S.C. On March 23, 2009, BI-LO and certain of its affiliates filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina. The included BI-LO assets are estimated to have realized over USD 2 billion in sales in 2008.
Rick Anicetti, Executive Vice President of Delhaize Group and President and CEO of Food Lion, LLC, said: "We at Food Lion, LLC have great admiration for the associates and stores at BI-LO. We believe our markets and service philosophy are complementary and we look forward to continuing our discussions with BI-LO."
The non-binding offer is subject to the satisfactory completion of the customary steps for such an acquisition including certain Bankruptcy Court approvals. Delhaize Group and BI-LO intend to close the transaction shortly after obtaining the entry of a final non-appealable sale order of the bankruptcy court pursuant to Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, authorizing the transfer of the purchased assets to Food Lion. It is the intent of Delhaize Group to integrate the included BI-LO assets in the network of its wholly owned subsidiary Food Lion, LLC. Food Lion, LLC is a food retailer that has more than 1,300 stores in 11 U.S. states and has more than 74,000 associates.
Delhaize Group is a Belgian international food retailer present in six countries on three continents. At the end of the second quarter of 2009, Delhaize Group's sales network consisted of 2,684 stores. In 2008, Delhaize Group posted EUR 19 billion (USD 28 billion) in revenues and EUR 467 million (USD 687 million) in net profit (Group share). At the end of 2008, Delhaize Group employed approximately 141,000 people. Delhaize Group's stock is listed on Euronext Brussels (DELB) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEG).
cautionary note regarding forward looking statements
Statements that are included or incorporated by reference in this press release and other written and oral statements made from time to time by Delhaize Group and its representatives, other than statements of historical fact, which address activities, events and developments that Delhaize Group expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future, including, without limitation, statements about strategic options, future strategies and the anticipated benefits of these strategies, are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements generally can be identified as statements that include phrases such as "guidance", "outlook", "projected", "believe", "target", "predict", "estimate", "forecast", "strategy", "may", "goal", "expect", "anticipate", "intend", "plan", "foresee", "likely", "will", "should" or other similar words or phrases. Although such statements are based on current information, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from those projected depending upon a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, changes in the general economy or the markets of Delhaize Group, in consumer spending, in inflation or currency exchange rates or in legislation or regulation; competitive factors; adverse determination with respect to claims; inability to timely develop, remodel, integrate or convert stores; and supply or quality control problems with vendors. Additional risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements are described in Delhaize Group's most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F and other filings made by Delhaize Group with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which risk factors are incorporated herein by reference. Delhaize Group disclaims any obligation to update developments of these risk factors or to announce publicly any revision to any of the forward-looking statements contained in this release, or to make corrections to reflect future events or developments.
Geert Verellen, +32-2-412-83-62
Barbera Hoppenbrouwers, +32-2-412-86-69
Christy Phillips-Brown, +1-704-633-8250 (ext. 2221)
Amy Shue, +1-704-633-8250 (ext. 2529)