SOURCE: Delhaize Group

March 10, 2011 02:21 ET

Delhaize Group Finishes 2010 with Strong Quarterly Operating Profit Growth and High Free Cash Flow

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM--(Marketwire - March 10, 2011) -


Financial Highlights 2010
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    * Revenue growth of 1.0% at identical exchange rates (4.6% at actual
      exchange rates)

    * Strong comparable store sales growth at Hannaford and Delhaize
      Belgium; improving trend in second half of year at Food Lion

    * Stable operating profit at identical exchange rates, in middle of
      guidance range (excluding the EUR 44 million U.S. restructuring,
      store closing and impairment charge in 2009)

    * Resilient operating margin of 4.9%

    * Outstanding full year free cash flow generation (EUR 665 million or
      3.2% of revenues)

    * Basic earnings per share of EUR 5.73 (Group share in net profit)
      increases by 11.2% at actual exchange rates
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Financial Highlights Fourth Quarter 2010
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    * Revenue growth of 1.5% at identical exchange rates (7.6% at actual
      exchange rates)

    * Solid comparable store sales growth in Belgium; improvement of U.S.
      comparable store sales evolution

    * Excellent Group operating margin of 5.9%; strong increase of
      operating margin in each of our regions
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Other Highlights
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    * Agreement to acquire 100% of Serbian based Delta Maxi Group for
      EUR 932.5 million enterprise value

    * Proposal to increase net dividend by 7.5% to EUR 1.29 per share


* CEO Comments

Pierre-Olivier Beckers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delhaize Group, commented: "Our Group finished 2010 with a strong fourth quarter, with improved revenue growth, solid operating margins and double digit operating profit growth. Our fourth quarter operating expenses decreased thanks to our teams' focus on sustainable cost management. In addition, our free cash flow generation was again very strong, a timely achievement as we just announced our agreement to acquire Delta Maxi Group in Serbia. This acquisition, expanding our presence into five new countries with good growth prospects, is a major opportunity for Delhaize Group to become a leading retailer in Southeastern Europe and an important step in rebalancing our geographic portfolio among our U.S., European and Asian businesses."

"2010 was the first year of our New Game Plan strategy. During the year we improved our price competitiveness, successfully managed our operating expenses, stepped up our growth in our newer operations and maintained our solid operating margin. We are on track to achieve our ambitious EUR 500 million annual gross cost savings target by the end of 2012."


Press release in pdf format: http://hugin.info/133961/R/1495832/431521.pdf


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Source: Delhaize Group via Thomson Reuters ONE

[HUG#1495832]

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