UK supermarket giant Tesco has announced that it has gained control of Kipa, a small Turkish hypermarket chain, by acquiring the necessary majorities of the unlisted A shares and listed B shares.

Tesco said the equity capital cost of 100% of Kipa is £75m debt free (US$124m), plus an additional payment in return for cash acquired on the balance sheet on closing.

Tesco first signalled that it was in talks with Kipa in August 2002.

Kipa operates five hypermarkets in the Aegean region with reported sales in 2002 of £124m and pre-tax profit of £4.7m. The retailer has over 1,500 employees.

"The acquisition of Kipa is an important step in our international strategy for long term growth. It is a great opportunity and an ideal entry vehicle: Kipa has a small and profitable chain of hypermarkets operating in a growing market. We will be working with existing management and three of the current Kipa directors to serve Turkish customers even better," said Tesco chief executive Terry Leahy.