Ahold Delhaize's decent financial results in 2018 came not only courtesy of its online activities, but also of its supermarkets in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States. The difficulties stemming from the merger have been resolved and the chain is now ready for the future, says CEO Frans Muller.
Online growth according to plan
At the end of January, Ahold Delhaize had already published growing turnover figures for the fourth quarter as well as the full year 2018. Now the company has released more detailed results, and they look good: underlying operational turnover increased from 3.9 % to 4.1 %. The group did particularly well in the United States, where the margin went up from 4.0 % to 4.2 %, while the marketshare also improved slightly. In the Netherlands, the margin even reached 5 %, but the slight pressure on Albert Heijn's market share is not such good news. In Belgium, the new strategy has led to a turnover increase and margin improvement from 2.2 % to 2.8 %.
Online turnover ended at 3.5 billion euros, a 24.8 % growth at constant exchange rates. It is even expected to double and reach 7 billion by 2021, says Muller. Bol.com's strong growth continued, generating a turnover of 2.1 billion euros with positive EBITDA margins.
"In 2018 we essentially completed the merger integration process and delivered on the synergies we promised. At the same time, we continued our strong business performance, while investing in meeting the needs of our customers in a rapidly changing industry. Today, Ahold Delhaize is fit for the future, with a very robust financial profile and the right structure to further grow our brands, both in-store and online", the CEO added.
The merger group intends to save on another 540 million euros of expenses in 2019 and achieve further improvement of the results.