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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM -- During its ordinary general meeting yesterday, Delhaize Group's president and c.e.o., Pierre-Olivier Beckers, confirmed that the company expects to achieve its earlier-announced financial guidance for the full year 2006.
"Following the solid first quarter, we have seen strong sales and profit figures in the first part of the second quarter," Beckers said. "In addition, we look forward to solid top-line growth during the second half of 2006 as we will start benefiting from several large impact initiatives such as the conversion of many Kash n' Karry stores into the Sweetbay concept, Food Lion's market renewal in the Washington, D.C. market, its entry in the new market of Greenville/Spartanburg, the accelerated store opening program at Hannaford, and a large number of store openings in Belgium and Greece."
The company previously said it expected full-year sales growth of 4 to 5 percent, a rise in operating profit of 4 to 6 percent, and an 8 to 12 percent gain in net profit.
Delhaize Group also said during the meeting that shareholders have approved the annual accounts over fiscal year 2005, and the distribution of a EUR 1.20 ($1.53) gross dividend over 2005. After deduction of a 25 percent withholding tax, this results in a net dividend of EUR 0.90 ($1.15) per share.
The 2005 dividend will become payable to owners of ordinary shares beginning on May 30. The payment of the dividend to Delhaize Group's ADR holders will be made through The Bank of New York beginning on June 9.
The shareholders appointed Claire Babrowski as director for three years. The mandates as director of Baron Georges Jacobs, Pierre-Olivier Beckers and Didier Smits were renewed for three years. Baron Georges Jacobs is chairman of the board of directors of Delhaize Group.
The shareholders also approved compensation for the directors of up to EUR 80,000 ($102,016) per year per director, increased with an amount of up to EUR 10,000 ($12,752) per year for the chairman of any standing committee of the board and increased with an amount of up to EUR 5,000 ($6,375) per year for services as a member of any standing committee of the board. The shareholders also approved to provide to the chairman of the board an amount up to EUR 160,000 ($204,015) per year inclusive of any amount due as chairman or member of any standing committee.
Shareholders also approved the accelerated vesting, upon a change of control of the company, of stock options granted under the company stock option plan to be launched in 2006. Shareholders approved this plan to the extent that it would entitle members of the executive management of the group to acquire existing ordinary shares of the company.
At an extraordinary general meeting held earlier the same day, the shareholders authorized the board of directors for 18 months to acquire up to 10 percent of the outstanding shares of the Ccompany at a minimum share price of EUR 1.00 and a maximum share price not higher than 20 percent above the highest closing price of the Delhaize Group share at Euronext Brussels during the 20 trading days preceding the acquisition.