Takeover of Brico by Vendex KBB finalized

Vendex KBB obtained approval by the European Committee on June 18 last, for the takeover of Brico Belgium s.a. from GIB. This finalizes the transaction that Vendex KBB announced March 27 last. The transfer of shares and the payment of the purchase price took place today. The Brico figures will be consolidated retroactively as of April 1, 2002.

The Brico Group operates a chain of DIY stores in Belgium by the name of Brico and also has DIY chains in France (by the name OBI), Spain and Portugal (by the name AKI).

In accordance with the announcement of March 27 last, today also the agreement with the French company Leroy Merlin was signed. They will take over the DIY activities of Brico in France, Spain and Portugal. For this transaction there is also an approval by the European competition authorities required. Application for this approval wil be submitted within the near future. Leroy Merlin is a principal player in the European DIY market, and exploits various DIY chains in France, Spain, Brasil, Italy, Poland and Belgium.

The acquisition of GIBÂ's DIY activities involves an enterprise value of approximately 500 million euros. Vendex KBB will receive approximately 340 million euros from Leroy Merlin. Vendex KBB will finance the transaction using the existing credit facilities.

The Belgian DIY chain will be part of Vendex KBBÂ's DIY business unit, but will continue under the present Brico management and the Brico name. The Vendex KBB DIY group exploits two retail formats: Praxis and Formido, with together more than 200 outlets, in the fiscal year 2001/02 net sales of 737 million euros and an operating income of 57.4 million euros.

The acquired activities bring the total net sales figure of the DIY activities to more than one billion euros. The acquisition makes a direct contribution to corporate net income (excl. goodwill amortisation).

(source: Vendex KBB)

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