Swedish retailer ICA Gruppen has booked a jump in sales and profits, boosted by the contribution of its acquisition of Ahold's stake in ICA AB.

ICA Gruppen was formed after Hakon Invest bought out its co-shareholder in ICA, Dutch retailer Ahold, last year year. Once Hakon Invest had 100% of ICA, a new entity, ICA Gruppen, was formed comprising ICA's retail stores in Sweden, Norway and the Baltic states, as well as assets in areas like real estate and banking.

The company said net sales rose to SEK77.7bn (US$12bn), up from SEK2.7bn last year. Excluding the impact of M&A, sales were up 2.2% the company revealed.

Operating profit jumped to SEK10.2bn, up from SEK212m in 2012. The acquisition of ICA AB contributed SEK8.05bn to the result. Net profit rose to SEK9.43bn, from SEK280m.

Commenting on the result, CEO Per Strömberg said the group was able to improve its operating performance thanks to growing sales and higher margins. "The strategic priorities we set for the year have had an effect. The last outstanding bridge loans will be refinanced in the next few days, well ahead of our plan"

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Year-end report 2013
ICA Gruppen's consolidated financial statements include ICA AB as a wholly owned subsidiary with effect from 27 March 2013 when the acquisition of Ahold's shares in ICA AB was completed.

Fourth quarter of 2013 in summary
Comparative figures are pro forma and show the fourth quarter of 2012 as if ICA and Hakon Invest had been consolidated.

• Consolidated net sales amounted to SEK 25,964 million (25,865) in the fourth quarter. This corresponds to an increase of 1.5% compared with the fourth quarter last year, adjusted for currency fluctuations.

• Operating profit excluding non-recurring items amounted to SEK 960 million (809).

• Changed accounting principle for sale & leaseback properties affected operating profit excluding non-recurring items by approximately SEK -80 million. This change was made retroactively and comparative figures have been recalculated.

• Operating profit amounted to SEK 641 million (812). Operating profit includes impairment of trademarks and goodwill relating to the portfolio companies of SEK -223 million and an earnings impact from the sale of Forma Books of SEK -82 million.

• Profit for the period amounted to SEK 531 million (713). Earnings per share amounted to SEK 2.49 (3.47).

• Cash flow from operating activities, excluding ICA Bank, amounted to SEK 2,231 million.

• The Board proposes a dividend of SEK 8 per ordinary share (0).
ICA Gruppen's CEO Per Strömberg comments the report
"ICA Gruppen continued to enjoy positive development in the fourth quarter. Operating profit excluding non-recurring items rose by 19%. Increased sales and higher margins contributed to improved earnings in ICA Sweden, Rimi Baltic and in the portfolio companies while the earnings improvement in ICA Norway is mainly explained by lower shrinkage. The strategic priorities we set for the year have had an effect. The last outstanding bridge loans will be refinanced in the next few days, well ahead of our plan", CEO Per Strömberg says.

Original source: ICA Gruppen