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BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Delhaize Group, the Belgian international food retailer, announced today it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 43 Harveys supermarkets located in central and south Georgia and the Tallahassee, Fla. area. The acquisition fills in an area where Food Lion, the largest U.S. banner of Delhaize Group, has a limited presence.
To acquire the 43 Harveys stores, Delhaize Group will pay $26.1 million in cash out of its 2003 capital expenditures budget. In addition, Delhaize Group will assume approximately $18 million in accounts payable and other short-term liabilities associated with the operation of Harveys.
The acquisition, which includes Harveys' corporate headquarters and warehouses in Nashville, Ga., will make the chain the fourth U.S. banner of Delhaize Group, joining Food Lion, Hannaford, and Kash n' Karry.
"We are delighted to welcome Harveys to the Delhaize family," said Rick Anicetti, president and c.e.o. of Food Lion and e.v.p. of Delhaize Group. "Harveys enjoys tremendous customer loyalty by providing superb customer service, attention to individual customer needs, and a selection of quality products matching the tastes of the local communities Harveys serves. We look forward to a profitable relationship and opportunities to share best practices."
According to Anicetti, the acquisition carries out a key Delhaize Group growth strategy, as previously announced, by filling in and reinforcing its presence in the company's current geographic footprint.
The J.H. Harvey Co., which operates the Harveys grocery chain, was founded in 1950. From a total of 22 stores in 1981, Harveys grew rapidly during the 1990s primarily through acquisitions. Harveys is a profitable chain with strong name recognition and customer loyalty in south and central Georgia. The majority of the Harveys stores are between 18,000 and 35,000 square feet. Seven Harveys stores have a pharmacy.
Harveys will continue to operate as a separate organization, but will receive strategic support and assistance from Food Lion. No store closings or layoffs relating to this acquisition are anticipated. Benny Ensley will continue to serve as Harveys' c.o.o. J.H. Harvey Jr., chairman and c.e.o., will continue his involvement with the company in a senior executive capacity.
"I am most pleased to see Harveys join Delhaize Group," Harvey said. "Harveys is in good company with a family of superior supermarket operators throughout the world. Harveys will continue to provide the service and quality that our customers have come to expect."