Dutch giant Ahold, which failed in a bid for Safeway in the 1980s, is still interested in moving into the UK market, according to president Cees van der Hoeven. Speaking at the Global Retailing Conference, organised by the IGD and Food from Britain, he said "nothing is on the cards", even though the firm had been looking for some time. Speculation continues to mount about a possible bid for Sainsbury. Ahold is still interested in a major acquisition or merger. Van der Hoeven said there was a 50% chance of such a move within three years. He did not rule out the Ahold name disappearing in a merger, saying local retail brands were more important. "We want to be the best and most successful food retailer in the world," van der Hoeven said. "Not necessarily the biggest." He said some existing global players might over-expand "managerially and philosophically". "You can only add value if the tools and mindset are excellent," he said. Technology is a key driver of Ahold's international business. Suppliers and recent acquisitions adopt Ahold practices. The goal is to share best practice, knowledge and benchmarking, allowing Ahold to plan promotions and reduce costs in the supply chain on a global scale. "If the argument that we are bigger so we can buy more is the basis for consolidation, that's pretty poor," van der Hoeven said. "You have to ensure the company is in the right mind frame for this sort of benchmarking." He added: "Once I believed there would be five to eight global retailers in five years. I now think that in less than five years there may be three, depending on any mega-mergers that might take place. I'm convinced we've only seen the beginning of consolidation." {{NEWS }}