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Colruyt Group acquires stake in SMARTMAT NV and strengthens its market leadership in Belgian food e-commerce

Halle, 4 February 2022 – On 3 February 2022, Colruyt Group acquired a 41,36% stake in Smartmat NV, a company specialised in meal boxes under the brands Foodbag and 15gram. The retail group thus becomes a shareholder of this dynamic food e-commerce company, together with the founders and with Korys, the investment company of the Colruyt family, which already held a stake in Smartmat NV. With the investment in meal boxes and the development of the new online grocery concept Rayon, Colruyt Group wants to further expand its customer oriented offering on the Belgian online food market.

Smartmat, a major player in Belgian food e-commerce

Smartmat NV is a key Belgian player in the online food market. The company mainly specialises in the composition and delivery of meal boxes under the brand names Foodbag and 15gram. On 24 January of this year, Smartmat also launched the Rayon concept: an online supermarket with home delivery across Belgium.

Colruyt Group and Smartmat NV have already been working together since 2019. The “One Meal Box” of Foodbag is sold at the OKay stores and Foodbag meal boxes can be collected at a number of Collect&Go pick-up points. Stéphane Ronse, Smartmat’s general manager, explains: “To us, Colruyt Group acquiring a stake in our company is a logical step: the anchoring of our partnership will enable us to extend and strengthen our existing relationship. Our next step now is to further explore and deepen the complementarity with existing products and services. For us, this opens up a host of interesting and valuable opportunities”.

Korys has had a stake in Smartmat/Foodbag since 2016 and will remain on board to further contribute to the company’s development. “Korys knows the industry as well as the company and its management very well. We are looking forward to using that knowledge in the next steps of the company’s growth, together with the management and Colruyt Group” adds Thomas De Kempeneer, Investment Director at Korys.

Building on market leadership in online food

Smartmat’s activities are a strategic fit with Colruyt Group, they complement the existing services and enhance the positioning of the various brands of the retail group. Tom De Prater, Responsible for E-Commerce Food at Colruyt Group, looks ahead: “Joining forces with a dynamic high-growth company like Smartmat marks a new, significant step for Colruyt Group in driving further growth by offering convenience solutions to our customers. It allows us to complete our product range and to grow in home deliveries. With this new partnership, we will continue to expand our online market leadership via the meal box market and take further steps towards the development of sustainable grocery home delivery services”.

Colruyt Group and Smartmat also see opportunities in exchanging expertise in various areas including logistics and distribution, to enhance the (cost) efficiency of the online services. In addition, Colruyt Group continues to invest in its existing online formulas in food (Collect&Go) and non-food (Dreamland, Dreambaby, The Fashion Society, Newpharma, MyComfort24 and Collishop collection points in the stores).

Marc Hofman, COO Retail at Colruyt Group, sees various other opportunities to invest in together with Smartmat: “Besides the strategic online match, we share the same value-driven vision on local sourcing, the focus on seasonal products and the commitment to promoting sustainable packaging, avoiding food waste and providing customer-oriented services“.

Stéphane Ronse adds: “We are for instance particularly proud of our drivers: (early) retirees who bring our meal boxes to our customers’ doorsteps with a smile.” Smartmat will continue to be led by the experienced and hands-on management team that remains on board with a view to further expanding the various branches in the business.

The transaction

Colruyt Group acquires a 41,36% stake in Smartmat NV by taking over shares from the founders and from Korys, which already had a stake in the company since 2016.
Colruyt Group and Korys now each hold 41,36% of the shares, while the founders retain the remaining shares. Because of this transaction, the cash flow statement of Colruyt Group will include a cash outflow between EUR 26 million and EUR 28 million, mainly in financial year 2021/22. Arm’s length principles were applied for the valuation. Smartmat will be accounted for using the equity method. Colruyt Group does not expect this transaction to have a material impact on the net result of the financial year 2021/22 and the upcoming financial year.

The necessary measures have been taken in view of the conflict of interest rules.

For questions on this press release or for further information, please contact:

  • Colruyt Group: Stefaan Vandamme (CFO), Marc Hofman (COO) and Hanne Poppe (Press officer)
  • Smartmat: Stéphane Ronse (CEO) through Debby Wilmsen (Diamonds & Pearls Communication)
  • Korys : Thomas De Kempeneer (Investment Director)
    • E-mail (journalists): thomas.dekempeneer@korys.be

About Colruyt Group

About Colruyt Group Colruyt Group operates in the food and non-food distribution sector in Belgium, France and Luxembourg with more than 600 own stores and over 580 affiliated stores. In Belgium, this includes Colruyt Lowest Prices, OKay, Bio-Planet, Cru, Dreamland, Dreambaby, Bike Republic and the affiliated Spar stores. In France, in addition to Colruyt stores, there are also affiliated Coccinelle, Coccimarket and Panier Sympa stores. The group is majority shareholder of The Fashion Society, which includes the fashion retail chains ZEB, PointCarré, The Fashion Store and ZEB For Stars. JIMS operates fitness clubs in Belgium and Luxembourg. Solucious and Culinoa deliver food service and retail products to professional customers in Belgium (hospitals, SMEs, hospitality sector, etc.). The activities of Colruyt Group also comprise energy supply by DATS 24 in Belgium (fuels, natural gas and green energy) and France (fuels), printing and document management solutions (Symeta Hybrid).The group employs over 32.000 employees and recorded a EUR 9,9 billion revenue in 2020/21. Colruyt is listed on Euronext Brussels (COLR) under ISIN code BE0974256852.

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