35731717_sBELGIUM:  Dutch retailer Ahold has entered into an agreement to merge with its Belgian counterpart Delhaize.

The combination, Ahold Delhaize, will create a complementary base of more than 6,500 stores with 375,000 associates and over 50 million customers per week across the United States and Europe. Together, Ahold and Delhaize businesses achieved net sales of €54.1bn in 2014.

Ahold Delhaize and will be headquartered in the Netherlands and the combined company’s European head office will be based in Brussels, Belgium. For the combined company, Delhaize will remain the leading brand in Belgium and the banner will continue to be run from the Brussels office

Mats Jansson, chairman of Delhaize Group, will become chairman of Ahold Delhaize. Jan Hommen, chairman of Royal Ahold, and Jacques de Vaucleroy, Delhaize group director, will become vice chairmen of Ahold Delhaize.

Delhaize Group has stores in seven countries on three continents. It has 3,410 stores and recorded sales of €21.4bn in 2014.

Royal Ahold NV is active in the United States and Europe and has over 3,200 stores and over 227,000 associates. Sales in 2014 amounted to €32.8bn.