Omnichannel investments will be on Ahold Delhaize’s agenda for 2022. Shareholders will not be forgotten with a share buyback and dividend program.
The year 2022 will be, in Ahold Delhaize
, the year of e-commerce. At the time of presenting its annual results, the distribution group announces that it plans not only the IPO of the subsidiary bol.com in the second half, but also the duplication of investments in the sign.
“We enter the year 2022 with a investment acceleration in omnichannel with the aim of achieving profitability of e-commerce operations by 2025. This will notably involve doubling investments in bol.com,” said Frans Muller, CEO, in a press release.
The group thus foresees an increase in its investment forecasts to around 3.5% of sales for the period from 2022 to 2025. The net investment expense is estimated at 2.5 billion euros.
After the record year 2020
The group also presents, for the 4th quarter of its 2021 financial year, a turnover of 20.1 billion euros (+0.1% at constant exchange rates). Sales for the full year 2021 total €75.6 billion. These results are in agreement with the consensus analysts who had expected 19.8 billion in quarterly sales to 75.3 billion in annual sales.
Quarterly operating profit reached 838 million euros (+1%) against 3.3 billion (+4.5%) for the annual exercise. Results again in line with expectations. Underlying annual earnings per share dropped to 2.19 euros.
“Our 2021 financial results far exceeded our initial expectationswith positive comparable sales growth for the whole year and comparable underlying earnings stable over 52 weeks (2021 had 53 weeks, editor’s note), compared to record 2020 results. despite supply chain challenges supplies, mounting inflationary pressures and the dilution effect as we continue to rapidly scale our omnichannel proposition.”
goal of 2022
Ahold Delhaize now expects fiscal 2022 to be a underlying operating margin at least 4%. enough to offset the pressures costs related to inflation and supply chain issues, as well as the negative impact on margins of increased penetration of online sales. Underlying earnings per share should stabilize at “low to mid single digits”.
Free cash flow is expected to reach around 1.7 billion euros.
In addition to the €1 billion share buyback program for 2022, Ahold Delhaize plans to dividend distribution of 0.95 euros per share.
Ahold Delhaize pays 382 million, but does not resolve the dispute with the Belgian tax authorities
Ahold Delhaize sbow to the Belgian tax authorities. The latter claims that the distribution group owes him 382 million euros. To avoid higher fines, the group decided to pay the amount, but continues to oppose and demand reimbursement.
The conflict goes back the acquisition in 2018 of the Delhaize Group by Dutch Ahold. The integration of activities has also crossed the ocean.
Delhaize’s US stores (Food Lion and Hannaford) were also transferred to the companies with which Ahold manages its US chains. Delhaize therefore sold its US stores to Ahold Delhaize.
But although the Dutch already owned the Belgian company, they wanted to get a “fair price” for the “Belgian” American stores. They brought in an outside organization that calculated the value of the stores. It is not known how much the Dutch paid.
This assessment is now contested by the Belgian tax authorities. They believe that American stores are worth more than the Dutch paid.
Even though the Dutch group remains against this estimate, the company decided, under penalty of being sanctioned, to pay the amount that was already accompanied by a 10% fine. The fines refer to interest of 4% for each year without payment. JC