The European Commission has approved the acquisition by Royal Ahold of prominent Spanish hyper and supermarket operator, Superdiplo. The decision was announced yesterday in Brussels.Superdiplo operates 300 supermarkets and hypermarkets in southern Spain, on the Canary Islands and in the Madrid region. The company boasts strong profits with sales of approximately Euro 1.5 billion. Superdiplo's activities and locations are highly complementary to Ahold's operations in Spain and the company has prospered under the professionalism of Superdiplo's management team.The Superdiplo stores serve more than 4 million customers weekly and feature extensive fresh departments along with a wide assortment of groceries and household items. Pending finalization of the transaction, Ahold in Spain will be three times as large as it is today. The many synergies available and economies of scale will further strengthen Ahold's local position and profitability. Ahold anticipates that the acquisition will be completed before the end of the year and preparations for the tender offer on all outstanding Superdiplo shares are underway. The offer will be announced after the approval of the prospectus by the Madrid stock exchange authorities.On September 7, 2000, the management of Ahold and Superdiplo announced that several Superdiplo majority shareholders with stock totaling 69% agreed to honor the offer. It's expected that other Superdiplo shareholders will follow suit. Once the transaction is finalized, Ahold in Spain will operate over 530 stores with annual sales of around Euro 2 billion. Further significant growth in the country is planned. Superdiplo already owns various excellent locations targeted for larger stores.