ECONOMY

Sklavenitis to buy 60 pct of rival supermarket chain Veropoulos

Supermarket chains Sklavenitis and Veropoulos have according to sources agreed to the acquisition by the former of a 60 percent stake in the latter, thereby creating a national champion in the local market. The formal announcements of the deal, reached a few days ago, are expected to be made in the next couple of weeks.

The agreement is the fruit of negotiations that started between the two sides and their crediting banks last August. If the information proves correct, retail commerce will see the emergence of a major player with an annual turnover of some 2 billion euros. This will also change the market landscape outside Athens, where Veropoulos has a strong presence, unlike Sklavenitis.

Kathimerini understands that significant activity has already taken place as senior Sklavenitis officials have been visiting Veropoulos stores in recent days, particularly outside Athens. This is necessary for them to gain information about the chain’s state and to prepare the transition to the company’s future shape.

The first move that brought the two rival chains closer took place a few months ago when Sklavenitis acquired the 60 percent stake that Veropoulos held in Cretan supermarket chain Halkiadakis. In doing so, Sklavenitis secured a foothold in the dynamic market of Crete where Halkiadakis has 38 sales points.

Sklavenitis extended its penetration of areas outside Athens, as well as the wholesale market, through the acquisition of Makro Cash & Carry a few months back for 65 million euros, securing 12 outlets, of which only five are in Attica.

Veropoulos has 185 points of sale within Greece, of which 94 are in Attica and the rest are in 47 cities and towns around the country. Therefore Sklavenitis will expand from 110 stores prior to the acquisitions to a possible 345 outlets, although certain shutdowns where Sklavenitis and Veropoulos stores overlap are very likely.

Sklavenitis’s annual turnover amounted to 1.19 billion euros in 2013, Makro’s came to 319.8 million euros from October 2013 to September 2014, and Veropoulos posted a group turnover of 803 million euros in 2013.