SOURCE: Delhaize Group

March 06, 2008 02:00 ET

Net Profit Increases by 16.5% to EUR 410 million in 2007

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM--(Marketwire - March 6, 2008) -


Financial Highlights 2007

* Continued revenues momentum: +4.9% at identical exchange rates

* Highest comparable store sales growth in the U.S. in more than ten years (+3.8%)

* Outstanding results at Alfa-Beta in Greece with 13.9% revenue growth

* Operating profit up by 7.8% (excluding USD 18.6 million impairment) at identical exchange rates

* Group share in net profit: +23.5% at identical exchange rates (+16.5% at actual exchange rates)

Financial Highlights Fourth Quarter 2007

* Revenue growth: +5.0% at identical exchange rates

* Continued strong comparable store sales growth in the U.S. (+3.7%)

* Outstanding operating margin of 5.5% and operating profit growth of 7.2% at identical exchange rates (excluding impairment)

* Group share in net profit: +7.5% at identical exchange rates

Other Highlights

* Proposal to increase net dividend by 9.1% to EUR 1.08 per share

* 2008 guidance: strong growth expected with 2.5% to 3.5% U.S. comparable store sales growth, 4% to 5.5% revenue growth Delhaize Group, 6% to 8% operating profit growth and 25% to 30% expected growth in net profit from continuing operations (at identical exchange rates)

CEO Comments

"Delhaize Group had an excellent year in 2007," said Pierre- Olivier Beckers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delhaize Group. "We realized the strongest sales momentum in years in our U.S. and Greek operations, and we held our industry-leading operating margins due to a better sales mix and disciplined cost management. Despite the increasingly uncertain economic environment, the strong performance continued in the fourth quarter in the U.S. and Greece, while our Belgian operations recovered after a challenging third quarter."

"As reflected in our current guidance, 2008 promises to be another dynamic year", added Mr. Beckers. "We continue to implement new initiatives in our existing stores aimed at increased differentiation from our competition. We plan a major step-up in our store opening plan with an increase of our sales network by approximately 150 stores. We are mindful of the more difficult consumer and inflationary outlook, but we believe we are prepared to seize market share opportunities in such an environment thanks to our value proposition, our low cost base and our strong balance sheet."

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