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Ahold and Delhaize Group have received approval from the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) for their intended merger.
The BCA's approval is conditional upon the divestment of a limited number of stores in Belgium to address competition concerns raised by the regulator, including 13 existing stores: eight Albert Heijn stores and five Delhaize franchised stores. No stores will be closed as a result.
Until all requirements imposed by the BCA are met, Albert Heijn and Delhaize stores in Belgium will continue to operate separately.
In June, Ahold and Delhaize announced their intention to merge, creating an international retailer with a portfolio of brands with more than 6,500 stores and more than 375,000 associates serving more than 50 million customers every week in Europe and the United States.
Earlier this week, shareholders of both companies approved the deal. The transaction is expected to be completed in mid-2016. The merger clearance from the BCA completes the competition approval in Europe.