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Zaandam, the Netherlands, December 21, 2021 – Ahold Delhaize announces today that bol.com, its online retailer in the Benelux, enters into a strategic alliance with delivery expert Cycloon. The parties intend to jointly accelerate the growth of Cycloon and share the ambition to make delivery more sustainable and social. The current management of Cycloon will be continued and the existing shareholders of Cycloon will remain involved as shareholders. The transaction, in which bol.com acquires a majority stake, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022 and is subject to advice from the relevant works council and customary approvals.
With the growth of the e-commerce and related logistics sector, challenges are increasing in terms of delivery capacity and impact on the environment and infrastructure. The partnership with bol.com allows Cycloon to substantially accelerate its mission of green and social delivery, creating a future-proof position with strong growth opportunities in a competitive market. For bol.com, the partnership ensures that a greater proportion of packages can be delivered by bicycle and that the online retail platform can offer customers the best service in delivery.
Green and social
With its national network of bicycle couriers and postal delivery staff, Cycloon sends mail and packages to thousands of customers throughout the Netherlands. The company already saves 1600 tons of CO2 annually and currently employs 600 people with a physical, mental or psychological distance to the labor market who receive additional guidance from a job coach. Management and shareholders remain fully committed to Cycloon's social culture and sustainable mission to grow the organization and create new jobs. Cycloon looks forward to continuing the delivery of mail and packages for current and new customers, as well as delivering packages for bol.com, after the completion of the transaction. This will include packages from bol.com itself as well as packages from sales partners who store their items in the distribution centers of bol.com.
Marieke Snoek, Managing Director Cycloon: "The partnership with bol.com gives us the opportunity to make an impact on a much larger scale. We will continue to invest in our people, network and partners and this will enable us to improve and further expand the services we provide to our current and new customers. In doing so, we discussed at length the principles we stand for and continue to stand for as organizations."
Accelerate sustainable and flexible delivery
Bol.com has ambitious sustainability goals and the collaboration with Cycloon contributes substantially to this. Vincent Weijers, Director of Logistics & Operations (COO) at bol.com: "We are huge believers in Cycloon’s sustainable and social mission. At the same time, it is an unique opportunity for bol.com and its sales partners to accelerate the sustainability of our growing parcel delivery business and expand our delivery capacity. Next to that, we can further improve the convenience and service for our customers with flexible and smart delivery. Moving towards a sustainable and socially responsible last mile is crucial for the future of e-commerce and we will continue to work with all our delivery partners to make this happen. With a majority stake in Cycloon, we are taking another step towards our stated ambition of reducing our direct footprint to 0 grams of CO2 emissions per package by 2025."
Wouter Kolk, CEO Ahold Delhaize Europe & Indonesia, said, “I am proud of the strategic partnership we have accomplished together. It gives both organizations the opportunity to grow in a sustainable way. Investing in and improving the so-called 'last mile' of the delivery of online orders, and making it more sustainable, sits high on the agenda within our strategy. Working with Cycloon can contribute to having bol.com customers shop however, whenever and wherever they would like."
Terms and process
The transaction is subject to customary conditions, including approval from the relevant authorities, coordination with trade unions and advice from the works council. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2022, provided all conditions are met. Four years after the transaction, bol.com will acquire the remaining shares. Cycloon will then also continue to exist as an independent brand.
This communication includes forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts may be forward-looking statements. Words and expressions such strategic, will, intend, ambition, continue(d)/(ing), remain(s), expect(ed), 2022, subject to, future-proof, opportunities, ensures, committed, mission, looks forward, impact, to improve, further, ambitious, goals, moving towards, future, step towards, by, 2025, would, conditions or other similar words or expressions are typically used to identify forward-looking statements.Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and that may cause actual results of Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V. (the “Company”) to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to, the risk factors set forth in the Company’s public filings and other disclosures. Forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Company’s management and assumptions based on information currently available to the Company’s management. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and the Company does not assume any obligation to update such statements, except as required by law.
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Cycloon, is the green and social delivery expert of the Netherlands. Cycloon's mission is to move the delivery market to become greener and more social. From that mission, Cycloon initiated a national bicycle courier platform in 2016 and now delivers in over 60 cities. Thus, a nationwide parcel service with around 800 bicycle couriers became a reality. In addition, Cycloon employs 600 postal workers with a (former) distance to the labor market.
In 1999, bol.com was founded in the Netherlands from a construction site in Vianen. We were the first online bookstore in Europe. More than 20 years later, we are the largest online retail platform in the Benelux and have expanded our range of books into millions of items in dozens of product categories, with a focus on non-food. Since the beginning, we have had the ambition to improve retail. We do this together with 47,000 local entrepreneurs who sell via bol.com to our customers; 12 million Dutch and Belgians. We believe in the power of collaboration, because only together with our partners can we offer our customers the best shopping (experience). As a 'store for all of us', we want to be accessible to everyone. We understand our customers and are there for them, whenever and wherever they need us. We always offer convenience, reliability and choice. Together we are changing retail to make everyday life easier.Bol.com employs over 2,500 people, working at the headquarters in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Since 2012 bol.com is a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize.
About Ahold Delhaize
Ahold Delhaize is one of the world’s largest food retail groups and a leader in both supermarkets and e-commerce. Its family of great local brands serves 54 million customers each week, both in stores and online, in the United States, Europe, and Indonesia. Together, these brands employ more than 410,000 associates in 7,137 grocery and specialty stores and include the top online retailer in the Benelux and the leading online grocers in the Benelux and the United States. Ahold Delhaize brands are at the forefront of sustainable retailing, sourcing responsibly, supporting local communities and helping customers make healthier choices. The company’s focus on four growth drivers – drive omnichannel growth, elevate healthy and sustainable, cultivate best talent and strengthen operational excellence – is helping to fulfil its purpose, achieve its vision and prepare its brands and businesses for tomorrow. Headquartered in Zaandam, the Netherlands, Ahold Delhaize is listed on the Euronext Amsterdam and Brussels stock exchanges (ticker: AD) and its American Depositary Receipts are traded on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. and quoted on the OTCQX International marketplace (ticker: ADRNY). For more information, please visit: www.aholddelhaize.com