Marinopoulos Expands in the Balkans, Enters Albania

Business | March 30, 2013, Saturday // 15:17| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Marinopoulos Expands in the Balkans, Enters Albania Greece's Marinopoulos became Carrefour exclusive franchisee in Southeast Europe in the summer last year. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Marinopoulos Group, which operates seventeen stores in Bulgaria, has announced the acquisition of a local super market chain Euromax from Balfin Group in Albania.

"The agreement strengthens the presence of the Marinopoulos Group SA in Albania and is part of the overall expansion strategy in the Balkan market," Marinopoulos said in a statement.

The Euromax chain owns 23 stores, 17 of which operate in the capital Tirana.

Marinopoulos expects a combined annual turnover of its entities in Albania of around EUR 40 M in 2013.

In the Balkans, Marinopoulos operates 860 stores, 800 of which in Greece, 16 in Cyprus, 24 in Albania, 17 in Bulgaria, and one in Skopje.

In the middle of June last year, just days ahead of Greece's crucial elections, French supermarket retailer Carrefour said it would abandon the country, its only unprofitable market.

Carrefour, France's largest supermarket retailer by sales, sold its 50% stake in its supermarket chain in Greece to its local partner, the Marinopoulos family.

The price of the deal was not disclosed, but the French group said it would take a mostly noncash charge of EUR 220 M.

Carrefour said the sale would allow the joint venture, which also operates in Cyprus, Bulgaria, Albania and other Balkan countries, "to meet the challenges of Greece's prevailing economic environment."

Carrefour Marinopoulos, formed in 1999, continues to operate as a franchisee of Carrefour in Bulgaria and the French company provides products in exchange for a fee.

Carrefour SA opened its first Sofia store at The Mall, the country's largest shopping center, in April 2010, five years after abandoning the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Paris-based company, Europe's biggest retailer, said it wants to shore up flagging sales at home by expanding in Bulgaria, where investors enjoy lower wages and costs.

In Bulgaria Carrefour competes with German chains Metro AG and Rewe Handelsgruppe, which runs the Metro hypermarkets and Billa supermarkets, as well as Ljubljana, Slovenia-based Mercator, the largest supermarket chain in the Balkans, which opened its first superstore here in 2009.

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Tags: Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Carrefour, Lidl, Mercator, Assos Capital, The Mall, retail, Marinopoulos, greece, CMB
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