A consortium formed by Dutch retail companies Sligro Food Group and Sperwer Holding has agreed to purchase the 223 Edah and Edah Lekker & Laang stores from Laurus for an estimated total consideration of EUR221m. The final price is dependant on the value of specific assets and will be determined on closing.

The sale price beat analyst expectations, which drove shares in Laurus, the troubled Dutch retail chain, up to EUR3.75 (US$4.81) at 12.30 (GMT).

The stores have a total sales surface of 234,000 square metres and realised a 2005 consumer turnover of EUR880m. The consortium expects that the acquisition will positively contribute to profits and earnings from 2008, when the integration of the stores has been finalised.

A spokesperson for Sligro told just-food today (30 May) that all employment contracts at the stores will be transferred from Laurus to the consortium. "We do not expect the acquisition to lead to redundancies," the spokeswoman said.

Sligro and Sperwer will equally divide the stores between themselves. The former Edah outlets will be re-branded and converted to Sligro and Sperwer's own formats, EM-TE and Golff respectively. The remaining stores will be sold to third parties.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2006.