Grocery leader NorgesGruppen has agreed to pay a reported NOK250m (£22.2m) to acquire 62% of upmarket convenience chain Deli de Luca. Deli de Luca, named by The Grocer as one of the world's ten best specialist stores last year (The Grocer, 12 November 2005, p42) has 24 stores and reported a turnover of NOK209m (£18.5m) in 2005. NorgesGruppen operates a portfolio of grocery businesses, including Spar-branded supermarkets. Deli de Luca MD Adriano Capoferro told The Grocer: "Our start-up investors had always planned to exit at this stage and they felt the market was right for an exit now. But our operating model and growth plans will remain the same."

International food and beverage company Strauss-Elite is planning a flotation on the London Stock Exchange. The group, which operates in Israel, is a market leader in roast and ground coffee in central and eastern Europe and the second largest coffee company in Brazil. It also recently entered the US Mediterranean salads market and is planning to launch a chocolate bar concept in the US. Erez Vigodman, chief executive officer of Strauss-Elite, said: "We believe that a listing will give us greater access to global capital markets and resources, enabling us to continue the company's growth strategy of making selective acquisitions and forming new ventures to make the company more internationally focused."

United States
Wal-Mart is planning to build a wave of experimental stores in the US. Speaking at the US retail giant's annual general meeting last week, Lee Scott, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart, said that in the coming months Wal-Mart would build more stores to appeal to Hispanic customers, rural dwellers and baby boomers. And as part of a five-point plan dubbed 'Wal-Mart Out in Front', the retailer is also planning to improve business operations and efficiency, drive growth in international business and contribute to the community.

The Netherlands
British American Tobacco is to close its factory in Zevenaar and transfer production to Germany and Poland. The tobacco manufacturer said that, subject to consultation, the factory would close in 2008 with the loss of 570 jobs. Jan Withag, managing director of British American Tobacco Manufacturing BV, said: "We regret this conclusion, but it is unavoidable."

Food and agricultural products supplier Cargill is to build a state-of-the-art cocoa processing facility in Ghana to produce cocoa liquor, butter and powder. The facility will be located in the port of Tema and will process 60,000 tonnes initially, with the potential to expand to 120,000 tonnes in the future. Paul Naar, head of Cargill's food ingredients business in Europe and Africa, said: "The quality of Ghanaian cocoa beans is excellent, and we are pleased to invest in a country whose government is committed to cocoa and further developing the industry."