“MGV Distri-Hiper SA was founded on May 17, 2005 to set up and operate stores under the Auchan banner in Romania. The partnership between the different shareholders of the company accepted from the beginning that Auchan would acquire a larger stake”, reads the press release remitted by the retailer.

Auchan acquired a 29% stake when the company was set up, then acquired the 20% held by a group of Romanian private investors on November 26, 2008.

On December 18, Auchan signed an agreement for the acquisition of the remaining 51% held by the founders of the company.

The transfer of the shares will take place in 2009 subject to the approval of the Romanian authorities regulating competition.

“This operation is a clear sign of the ambition of Auchan in Romania. We wish to pursue our development over the long term in this country of the European Union with a strong growth potential, and continue to contribute to the modernization of the retail sector and the reinforcement of the purchasing power of Romanian consumers. This operation should enable us to speed up the development of our lines of business, thus prolonging the remarkable work carried out by our partners and our teams up to now,” said Christophe Dubrulle, chairman of the board of directors of Auchan Group.

Since 2006, MGV Distri-Hiper has opened 6 hypermarkets under the Auchan banner, including 2 in recent weeks, in Suceava on November 15 and in Bucharest Militari on December 11, as well as a supermarket. The company plans on opening two more units in 2009.

Auchan has appointed Philippe Le Grignou as chairman of MGV Distri-Hiper, which had 3,500 employees on December 31, 2008.