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Food Lion Supermarket Chain Quits Thailand

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Belgian owned Food Lion supermarket chain quits Thailand

BANGKOK: -- Belgian-owned supermarket giant Food Lion has decided to close down its operations in Thailand after losing billions of baht in a seven-year effort to establish a toe-hold in the retail food market, the Bangkok Post reported Friday.

The US chain's parent company, the Brussels-based Delhaize Group, announced it was calling it quits and shuttering its remaining 26 Food Lion stores nationwide after eight outlets were closed last month.

The company's resources "would create more value for the group when invested in other assets," Delhaize executive vice president Jean-Claude Coppieters said in a statement quoted by the newspaper.

The firm had employed 1,340 employees in Thailand. Last year it reportedly lost 521.9 million baht (12.6 million dollars) and was believed to have chalked up billions of baht in losses since its launch here in 1997.

Closing the Thai operation would include a one-time third-quarter charge of up to 16 million euros (19.3 million dollars) for severance pay and other costs, the statement said.

Food Lion's exit marks the second by a European supermarket firm from Thailand in five months, as Dutch giant Royal Ahold NV sold its stake in the Tops chain in March.

-- AFP 2004-08-06

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