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The new owner of struggling supermarket chain Zielpunkt has rubbished rumours that he plans a sale.

Satek says sale speculations are baseless

The new owner of struggling supermarket chain Zielpunkt has rubbished rumours that he plans a sale.

Business newspapers are speculating about a sale of the firm in the foreseeable future due to stagnating earnings and decreasing turnover. Zielpunkt has 300 stores in Austria. Most of them are situated in capital Vienna. The enterprise has around 3,000 employees. Zielpunkt’s turnover dropped from 550 million in 2010 to 540 million Euros last year.

German-Czech businessman Jan Satek and two business partners, whom he refuses to identify, took over Zielpunkt as of 1 January. The engagement was made public in February. Satek – who explained he had paid a "seven-digit figure" to acquire Zielpunkt – told the Kurier today (Tues) that he had not been holding talks about a takeover with German supermarket enterprise Edeka.

Satek was nominated as Zielpunkt boss by German-Luxembourgian investment company BluO in 2010. Zielpunkt has a low one-digit market share in Austria where market leaders Billa, Spar Austria and Hofer claim 80 per cent altogether. A spokesman for Edeka denied claims that the firm was negotiating a takeover of Zielpunkt with Satek.

Zielpunkt was named Plus for some years in a failed attempt to increase its earnings. Satek said he was convinced that Zielpunkt had good chances to prosper in the near future despite the current difficulties. Austria’s leading supermarket companies manage around 5,000 stores at the moment, according to a study. Back in 2004, there were 5,700 supermarkets in Austria. Zielpunkt was called Plus between 2003 and 2008.

Renowned businesspeople and former People’s Party (ÖVP) Health Minister Maria Rauch-Kallat are part of its supervisory board. Rauch-Kallat underlined that she had not invested in Zielpunkt. Speaking to the Kurier, the ex-politician said that her husband Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly had not done so either. Mensdorff-Pouilly is one of Austria’s best-known lobbyists. He consulted leading telecommunications company Telekom Austria (TA) and was allegedly involved in some of the firm’s most crucial takeovers and assignments in recent years.

Austrians are spending 12 per cent of their incomes on average on food. Households of the country have a monthly food shopping budget of 220 Euros. Another 110 Euros are paid out in cafes and restaurants, federal statistics authority Statistik Austria found. Milk and potatoes are Austrians’ favourite fresh food. Every Austrian consumes 38 litres of milk and nearly 10 kilograms of potatoes a year. Apples are in third place with an average annual consumption of seven kilograms.

Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA) said sales of organic food helped Austrian supermarkets and specialised shops to a profit of 304.4 million Euros in 2011. This is a decrease of 0.6 per cent compared to 2010, according to AMA. Especially organic eggs, potatoes and milk are in great demand.

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