A vote of confidence on Wednesday for the fragile Romanian economy from Louis Delhaize, the Belgian retail group.

The group is expanding Cora, its Romanian hypermarket chain, from eight stores to around 25 in a big push to expand modern retail out of Bucharest and into the provinces.

It won’t be easy with GDP forecast to stagnate in 2012 or even to contract. But with scores of Romanian towns and cities still without modern hypermarkets or supermarkets, Delhaize sees a lot of potential in developing the Romanian consumer.

François Bouriez, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement on Wednesday:

Louis Delhaize is happy to continue its investments in Romania, which is now becoming an important market. The construction and opening of up to 17 new hypermarkets and a shopping mall in Romania show its belief in

The expansion is being financed with the help of a syndicated loan of €210m headed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Thomas Mirow, the EBRD president, said in a statement:

The successful syndication of this facility in the current economic environment is a sign of confidence in Romania’s economy. This project will benefit Romanian regions by providing stable market outlets for the local farming sector, and by generating new employment opportunities for local people. It will also bring a quality service and a wide range of products at competitive prices to smaller towns in Romania.

Louis Dalhaize, an unlisted company founded in 1850, has no connection with Delhaize Group, a much larger listed Belgian retail group, which also has a supermarket chain in Romania, operating under the brand Mega Image. An earlier version of this story confused the two companies. Apologies to both.

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