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May 10, 2018
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Hema may be sold to Belgian investor

May 10, 2018

Dutch department store chain Hema has reportedly found a new owner. Belgian investment company Core Equity Holdings will purchase the chain from its current London-based owner, Lion Capital.

Hema storefront - Photo: Hema

According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the new owner will acquire the chain for 1 billion euros, based on information from sources in the financial sector. The newspaper said that there is already an oral agreement between Core Equity Holding and Hema on the contours of the potential deal. An additional two sources said that it could still take a few weeks before the two parties come to an agreement.

Hema first announced that it was looking for a new owner in September 2017. At the time, the retailer said: “[Hema] is well-positioned to benefit from the future growth potential ahead, supported by a strong Benelux business and successful international expansion.”

In April, Het Financieele Dagblad reported that Hema’s owner was struggling with the sale of the chain. Sources familiar with the sale process told the newspaper that potential buyers had ‘questioned the strength of the retail chain following its recovery. They believe that the seller is giving too rosy a picture of the retailer and therefore asking too high a price in return.’

In recent months, Hema has announced a number of new stores as well as the expansion to new markets, including Austria and the Middle East. Many Dutch stores have been re-modeled according the introduction of an ‘international model’.

The new stores have contributed to the retailer's positive financial results. Hema reported record FY17 net sales, which came in at €1,235.5 million, an increase of 3.5% compared to €1,193.2 million in FY16.

Hema’s current owner, Lion Capital, purchased the chain in 2007 for €1.1 billion.

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