The European Commission has today (Thursday) granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Deli XL BV of the Netherlands by Bidvest Holding BV of South Africa from its current owners, supermarket chain Ahold.

Deli XL is a food services wholesaler and provides a wide range of food and non-food products for catering to hospitals, schools and other similar institutions in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Bidvest is part of the Bidvest Group, a South-African investment holding company. In Europe, the Bidvest Group is, among other things, active in the food services business in the United Kingdom, through BFS Group Limited, a company active under the trade name "3663 First for Food service", the commission pointed out.

When the deal was first announced in July, its value was put at approximately €140m (US$173m), consisting of a cash consideration, debt repaid to Ahold as well as assumed debt.

"The divestment of Deli XL marks an important step towards finalizing our divestment program," said Ahold president and CEO Anders Moberg at the time. "Our strategy for the Dutch business is targeted on its retail activities. The investment and management attention needed to assume a greater role in European foodservice is inconsistent with this focus. We therefore believe that Deli XL's potential in the out of home food market can better be realized under an owner such as Bidvest."