ZAANDAM, The Netherlands, Dec. 11, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Ahold (NYSE:AHO) today announced its intention to divest wholly-owned subsidiary De Tuinen, a chain of 65 natural product stores located throughout the Netherlands. Ahold and NBTY, Inc., a U.S.-based publicly-held company, have signed a letter of intent whereby De Tuinen will be sold to NBTY's British subsidiary Holland & Barrett Europe Ltd. for approximately Euro 16.5 million. The transaction is subject to the customary approvals by regulatory authorities and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2003.
De Tuinen, with sales of approximately Euro 30 million, has been part of the Ahold group of companies since 1991. The stores offer a wide assortment of over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, gift items and natural beauty care products. Holland & Barrett, as part of the NBTY group, is an international producer of dietary supplements with approximately 1,000 stores in the United States, Great Britain and Ireland.
The divestment of De Tuinen fits within Ahold's strategy of focusing on its core businesses. Ahold believes De Tuinen will grow stronger within an organization specialized in natural products and dietary supplements. Customers will not notice a significant change, as the company will continue to operate under the same brand name and will still be offering the same range of natural products. De Tuinen's 350 employees are being retained by the new management and have greater opportunities for development in an organization whose core business is natural products.
Ahold is a food retail and foodservice company serving 40 million customers every week. Ahold companies operate approximately 9,000 stores under their own brand names in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Ahold also has significant foodservice activities in the United States and three European countries.
This Ahold press release contains "forward-looking statements." Actual results may differ from such statements as they may have been influenced by factors beyond the company's ability to control, as more fully discussed in the annual report of Koninklijke Ahold N.V.