Ahold "in talks" over Slovakian sale

Ahold "in talks" over Slovakian sale

Dutch retail giant Ahold has remained silent on claims it is preparing to sell its Slovakian operations.

According to a report on local news website, www.sme.sk, the company has entered talks over a possible sale.

A spokesperson for the group declined to comment on the reports.

The company does not strip out its Slovakian sales, which are included in Ahold's "other Europe" division, which also comprises its business in the Czech Republic.

The retailer operates 20 hypermarkets under the Hypernova banner and four Albert supermarkets in the market.

In the second quarter, net sales from Ahold's other Europe division fell 4.7% to EUR367m (US4483.6m). Identical-store sales slid 3%. Underlying operating margin stood at 0.8%, compared to 1% in the second quarter of 2012.

For the first half of 2013, net sales dropped 4.9%, while identical-store sales were down 2.9%. Underlying operating margin was flat year-on-year at 0.9%.

In 2012, when Ahold booked impairment costs linked to its Slovakian business, net sales from its other Europe business fell 3.7% to EUR1.7bn. Identical-store sales were 2.3% lower. Underlying margin was up on 2011, rising from 1.2% to 1.3%.