ZAANDAM, Netherlands, May 20, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Ahold (NYSE:AHO) today announced that definitive agreement has been reached with NBTY, Inc., a U.S.-based, publicly-held company, for the divestment of its Dutch natural products retail unit De Tuinen. The transaction value amounts to approximately Euro 16 million, to be paid as a cash sum. The transaction has received all necessary approvals.
De Tuinen has been part of Ahold's Dutch health and beauty care division since 1991 and consists of 41 owned stores and 25 franchise stores. De Tuinen offers a broad range of over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, gift items and natural beauty care products. De Tuinen has now been definitively transferred to Holland & Barrett Europe, Ltd., a British subsidiary of NBTY, an international producer of dietary supplements with approximately 1,000 stores in the United States, Great Britain and Ireland.
De Tuinen will be gradually phased into NBTY, a process to be completed by December 28, 2003. During this transition, Holland & Barrett will be permitted use of several Ahold facilities as well as logistics and other back-office services. De Tuinen's customers will not notice a significant change, as the company will continue to operate under the same brand name and offer its current range of natural products.
The transaction includes all De Tuinen chain stores and their inventory. The franchise stores will also conduct their business with Holland & Barrett. All 312 associates will transfer to the new owner. During the transition period, new locations for the De Tuinen head office and distribution center will be sought.
The planned divestment of De Tuinen, announced on December 11, 2002, is part of Ahold's strategic plan to restructure its portfolio to focus on high-performing businesses and to concentrate on its mature and most stable markets. Ahold believes De Tuinen will grow stronger within an organization that specializes in natural products and dietary supplements.
Please find press release as pdf under the following link: http://reports.huginonline.com/904629/118375.pdf
Certain statements in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of U.S. federal securities laws. Ahold intends that these statements be covered by the safe harbors created under these laws. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. There are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the information set forth in these forward-looking statements. Many of these factors are beyond Ahold's ability to control or predict. Given these uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements, which only speak as of the date of this press release. Ahold does not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.