Ahold Delhaize chief executive Frans Muller has said that "further digitalisation" will be the key to driving the business' investment plans over the coming years.
Muller was speaking at the retailer's annual general meeting, held both in-person and digitally, at which shareholders adopted the 2021 financial statements and approved all agenda items.
"We are a financially strong and well-managed company and we are convinced that our strategy provides us with the right way forward," Muller said in a speech during the AGM.
“When we sharpened our objectives during our Investor Day in November last year, we identified four priorities for the next four years that will determine our investment choices. These priorities are our customers, our operations, a sustainable world and our impressive brand portfolio.
"Further digitalisation is the basis for many of these priorities and our investments. By accelerating digital innovation, we drive growth while helping customers to eat well, save time and live better.”
Shareholders Agree To Dividend
The meeting, which was attended by 81 shareholders, representing approximately 650 million shares, saw shareholders agree to the proposed 2021 annual dividend of €0.95 per common share for the full year.
An amount of €0.43 per common share was paid as interim dividend on September 2 last year, with the remaining amount of €0.52 per common share payable on April 28 of this year.
Shareholders adopted all other proposals on the agenda, including the appointment of Pauline van der Meer Mohr as member of the supervisory board and the new remuneration policies of the management board and the supervisory board.
'In Great Shape'
Also speaking at the AGM, chief financial officer Natalie Knight said that the group was " in great shape financially and operationally".
"I am pleased to reiterate our financial guidance for 2022," she said. "Looking to the future, I am also pleased to reaffirm the commitments we outlined in detail at our November 2021 Investor Day.”
At the start of this year, the group announced a €1 billion share buyback programme.
© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.