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Ica stake bought out by Swedish investors

Swedish investment company Hakon Invest announced on Monday that it would buy the remaining 60 percent stake of supermarket chain Ica for 20 billion kronor ($3.1 billion) from Dutch retailer Royal Ahold.

Ica stake bought out by Swedish investors

Hakon Invest, which already owned 40 percent of the grocer’s shares, announced the purchase on Monday morning, adding that it would be renaming itself Ica Gruppen.

Ahold “has reached an agreement with Hakon Invest regarding the sale of Ahold’s 60 percent holding in Ica, the Scandinavian retailer, for 21.2 billion kronor,” the company said in a statement.

The deal included Ica’s 2012 dividend of 1.2 billion kronor.

In conjunction with the announcement of the deal, Ica also released its quarterly results, reporting profit of 812 million kronor before tax for the fourth quarter of last year – compared to 853 million kronor in the corresponding period from 2011.

Anders Nyrén, CEO of Industrivärden, praised the move by Hakon Invest.

“Ica is a very strong brand, and the company has shown good volume growth and rising margins over a number of years,” he said in a statement.

The deal is contingent upon regulatory approval and is predicted to be completed in April this year.

Hakon Invest has owned part of Ica since 2000, when it bought its share in the company together with Royal Ahold.

Ica was founded in Sweden in 1938 and is now among the biggest retail chains in the Nordic region. There are around 1,500 stores in Sweden alone.

TT/The Local/og

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POLAND

Swedish beef fillet turns out to be horsemeat

Sweden's food safety regulator said on Monday it had asked prosecutors to investigate a company believed to have labelled Polish horsemeat as Swedish beef tenderloin.

Swedish beef fillet turns out to be horsemeat

“We can’t say with certainty where this meat comes from because the documentation is so inadequate,” Karin Cerenius of the control unit of the National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) told AFP.

The food security watchdog had been contacted by a consumer in Sundsvall in northern Sweden who was concerned over the size and colour of a beef steak she had bought from a local Ica Maxi grocery store.

The product was withdrawn from sale last week after tests showed it was 100 percent horsemeat.

The agency said inspections at Tallhöjden , based in Öxabäck in western Sweden, showed the firm had insufficient procedures in place for tracking “which products entered the company, which ones leave it, and how they are labelled.”

The company handled both beef and horsemeat, Cerenius said.

Tallhöjden’s head of sales, Johan Sahlin, said the meat had been ordered from another Swedish company that bought it from Poland, and insisted it had been labelled as beef.

“I bought beef fillet,” he said.

The agency’s report to prosecutors covers around 460 kilogrammes of meat, 300 of which remain at the Ica Maxi in Sundsvall, Cerenius told the TT news agency.

According to Tallhöjden, the mislabelled meat was also sold to a pizzeria.

The scandal of horsemeat being passed on as beef has engulfed a string of European countries with millions of ready meals pulled from supermarket shelves.

The row has ensnared major international corporations including Swiss group Nestle and Swedish furniture giant Ikea.

Around two weeks ago, food wholesaler Martin & Servera recalled around one tonne of roast beef that was labelled as pork from Poland, but which actually turned out to be horsemeat.

AFP/The Local/dl

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