The news that Netto is returning to the UK in a joint venture with Sainsbury’s has taken many in the grocery industry by surprise.

The discounter sold its UK estate to Asda in May 2010 in a deal worth £778m. The swoop included 193 stores averaging 8,000 sq ft. At the time, it said it wanted to concentrate on its business in Northern Europe.

Total Netto stores: 1,255

Denmark: 453

Germany: 346

Poland: 301

Sweden: 155

So what is the Netto brand? ‘Netto’ is Danish for ‘price’, and it first opened its doors in Denmark in 1981, before expanding to Germany, Poland and Sweden. It now employs 42,500 people.

Its parent company, Dansk Supermarked, dates back to 1906, and claims a market share of 34.9% in Denmark. It is owned in turn by The Salling Foundation (81%) and AP Møller – Mærsk (19%).

Dansk’s turnover was £6.35bn in 2013, with a profit before tax of £198m.

The group has stated it wants to double the turnover of Netto International – which is where the JV with Sainsbury’s comes in.

“The partnership with Sainsbury’s is an important milestone in our ambition to grow Netto International, which is a core pillar of our overall strategy,” said the group today.

Netto’s new UK operation will be led by Morten Möberg Nielsen, formerly MD of Netto International in Germany, who has been with Dansk Supermarked for 14 years.

Read this: What happened to Netto’s stores in the UK?