Food retailer Sligro acquires Metro activities in Belgium

Dec 7 (Reuters) - Dutch food retailer Sligro Food Group (SLIGR.AS) said on Wednesday it would buy a chunk of German distribution company Metro's (B4B.DE) activities in Belgium.

Sligro, which will take over nine Metro wholesalers across the country and about a hundred employees from the regional network and head office, will pay 47 million euros ($49.31 million) for the outlets.

"In recent years we have been preparing the organisational structure, our teams, and the logistics and the IT infrastructure in Belgium for this development. We are incredibly excited to be able to put that all into action now," Sligro's chief executive Koen Slippens said.

The group added it would offer workers from Metro's Antwerp North outlet, which it won't be taking over, jobs at the nearby Sligro-ISPC outlet, while the Evergem outlet and its staff would be transferred to food service market wholesaler Van Zon.

Sligro said the Belgian Competition Authority, which supervises Metro's restructuring in the country, had granted an exception based on its earlier investigation that would allow the transaction could go ahead immediately.

Once the deal is completed, Sligro will briefly close the outlets and reopen them one by one within a few days, after implementing its technical infrastructure and new products.

The Dutch retailer said it expected significantly lower revenue after the reopening of all the outlets by mid-January.

Prior to Metro's restructuring in Belgium, the acquired part had generated annual revenue of around 300 million euros, and Sligro expects it to return to these levels within a few years.

($1 = 0.9532 euros)

Reporting by Juliette Portala and Dina Kartit, Editing by Louise Heavens and Milla Nissi

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