Ahold’s chief executive, Anders Moberg, has said he is “very confident” the Dutch retail group will achieve its target of raising €2.5bn (US$3.0bn) from asset sales in a bid to cut its debt.
Moberg said in an interview with Reuters that its major assets in Spain and the US had received a lot of interest from potential buyers, including both retailers and financial buyers. Bids are due in next week.
“There’s been a lot of interest, and there are financial and strategic buyers on the list. Everyone you’d expect, really,” Moberg was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“We’ll choose to take some of them into a second round, but we might sell (the assets) in different parts. This will be no fire sale,” he added. The company plans to dispose of its Superdiplo in Spain, and Bi-Lo and Bruno’s in the United States.
“Our assumption of what we can extract from divestments will leave us around the €2.5bn mark, but I might be surprised and find that it’s even higher,” Moberg said.
Ahold embarked on a series of asset disposals last year in an effort to pay down debt amid its recovery from a massive accounting scandal.
Speaking about the company’s expansion plans, Moberg said Central Europe would play an important role. The company has operations there in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
“I believe we could move beyond these three countries, building on what we have there,” he said.