Investment fund KFI's announcement yesterday [Thursday], that it will purchase Danish brewery group Carlsberg's 12% stake in the country's largest food wholesaler Dagrofa, is expected to give it more say in the ongoing restructure of the Nordic food market.

Dagrofa, with its subsidiary chains Spar and SuperBest, controls 37% of the Danish food sector.

Marcus Choleva, MD of KFI, revealed buying Carlsberg's stake will increase KFI's holding in Dagrofa to 45%. He told Danish business daily Börsen: "There will be a cross-boarder cooperation. I cannot say when, though, and it is not on the agenda today."

Danish players have been watching from the sidelines as Swedish and Norwegian food operators created retail giants such as ICA Ahold, with Dutch Ahold, said Choleva: "The food retail industry is going global and that time has come for Dagrofa too. The initiative may come from us or from some other player."

Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni holds the remaining 55% of Dagrofa, and has commented that it would not block any attempts to bring Dagrofa in as a partner in a future deal.

A likely partner is Sweden's third largest food group Axfood, because Dansk Supermarket has already tied up with Sweden's ICA on the Norwegian and Swedish markets. MD Mats Jansson has repeatedly expressed Axfood's ambitions in the Nordic region and its aim to control 20% of the Danish market. It currently operates the Finnish Spar food chains.

"I would be disappointed if we haven't participated in some kind of a deal within the next 18 months. To grow is not a vision but a must," Jansson recently told Swedish media.

Norwegian NorgesGruppen, with which Dagrofa already has a limited purchasing cooperation, was also mentioned as a possible future partner.

By Jerry Simonsson, just-food.com correspondent