ICA seeking to sell SDS holding 

January 16, 2004, 00:00 CET

Sweden’s ICA AB and Statoil ASA have signed a non-binding letter of intent covering the acquisition by Statoil of ICA’s holding in retailer Statoil Detaljhandel Skandinavia AS (SDS). This initiative has come from ICA.

SDS is currently owned 50-50 by ICA and Statoil. The two sides now intend to negotiate agreements on a share sale and on collaboration over product supply and concept development.

Subject to approval by the boards of Statoil and ICA, the finalised deals are expected to be implemented during the spring of 2004.

SDS was established in 1999 as a 50-50 joint venture between Statoil ASA and ICA AB’s Norwegian subsidiary ICA AS.

The company operates almost 1 400 full-service Statoil stations in Scandinavia and also has almost 80 automated outlets under the 1-2-3 brand.

It occupies a leading position in its area of the Scandinavian retail sector, with 22 per cent of the market.

Erling Øverland, executive vice president for Manufacturing & Marketing in Statoil says that the group intends to negotiate with ICA to continue collaboration even though the latter withdraws as an owner.

“We’ll now conclude final agreements and shape our future mode of cooperation in detail. After final approval from the respective boards and the authorities, the sale can be closed.”

“Our core business is food and meals, and that’s what we want to concentrate on in cooperation with Statoil,” says chief executive Kenneth Bengtsson at ICA AB. “We can do that without being a part owner.”

“We’ve achieved a lot during the five years that SDS has been owned jointly by ICA and Statoil,” says Mats Holgerson, president of SDS. “It would be good if this collaboration could continue, and by all means develop further.”

Further information from:

Morten Henriksrud, public affairs manager, Statoil ASA, tel: +47 90 01 69 60 (mobile), +47 22 96 22 40 (office)

ICA’s press department, +46 70 253 66 60