Ahold and Colruyt expected to line up bids
Dutch and Belgian grocery giants Ahold and Colruyt are going head to head in a race for stores at Laurus, the Netherlands' second-biggest retailer.

Laurus, which includes French powerhouse Carrefour as a shareholder, yesterday put 320 Edah and Konmar stores up for sale - half its entire store portfolio. The move follows a long-running and increasingly bitter price war in the Dutch grocery sector, with Ahold-owned market leader Albert Heijn investing in huge price cuts across its product ranges.

Ahold has emerged from a two-year repositioning, following a major financial scandal and said recently that it is looking for strategic acquisitions to bolster its operations in northern Europe.

Value leader Colruyt has continued to post strong results, despite an equally savage discounting culture in neighbouring Belgium, and both would be strong contenders for the Laurus stores.