Dutch retailer Ahold has announced that it has sold its Brazilian retail chain Bompreco to US retail giant Wal-Mart and its Brazilian credit card operation Hipercard to Unibanco.

Ahold said the combined value of the operations amounts to approximately US$500m. Ahold’s other Brazilian retail operation, 32-store G Barbosa, is not included in the transaction.

Bompreco operates 118 hypermarkets and supermarkets mainly in northeastern Brazil. The acquisition gives Wal-Mart Brazil its first stores in the northeast market.

With the acquisition, Wal-Mart Brazil will operate 143 units in the country, including 13 Wal-Mart Supercenters, ten Sam’s Clubs, two Wal-Mart Todo Dias and the 118 Bompreco stores. Vincent Trius, president of Wal-Mart Brazil, said the company would keep its current home in Sao Paulo, but would retain Bompreco’s headquarters in Recife as its regional base of operations. 

The divestment of Ahold’s activities in Brazil is part of Ahold’s strategy to optimise its portfolio and to strengthen its financial position by reducing debt.