Belgian investor eyes Dutch retail chain

UK investor Lion Capital is poised to sell its loss-making Dutch retail chain Hema to Belgium’s Core Equity Holding, according to Dutch daily De Telegraaf. 

The acquisition would mark the second investment for Core Equity Holding. Both Hema and Core Equity declined to comment.

Hema has more than 700 stores in seven countries around Europe including its home market the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and the UK. Earlier this year it opened three new stores in Dubai and it is also planning to expand strongly in Germany.

Lion has owned the loss-making Hema chain since 2007 with a view to selling it at a profit a few years later, but so far attempts to sell the loss-making company failed. In 2010, a planned sale to Dutch supermarket chain Ahold was aborted at the last moment and another attempt four years ago was likewise unsuccessful.

A number of Hema stores are included in the €1.6 bn department store portfolio acquired in late 2017 by an institutional consortium led by CBRE Global Investors (CBRE GI) in one of the largest real estate transactions ever in the Netherlands. The portfolio consists of over 31 department stores across the Netherlands, including the iconic Bijenkorf stores in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, as well as a number of Hema and former V&D stores.


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