Two major purchases in the US this week have boosted Ahold's presence in the lucrative foodservice sector and taken its food retailing operation into new markets. After several days of press speculation, Ahold announced on Tuesday it had purchased US caterer Alliant in a $2.2bn deal. The deal includes the assumption of $750m in debt and is expected to yield cost savings of $70m next year. The third largest foodservice company in the US, Alliant was owned by New York based investment firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice. A deal was widely expected after recent comments from Ahold boss Cees van der Hoeven that the company was "actively pursuing" opportunities in the US foodservice arena. In a separate transaction, Ahold announced a significant addition to its US retail estate with the purchase of south east grocery chain Bruno's supermarkets in a $500m deal. Chalking up annual sales of $1.65bn, the 184 strong chain takes Ahold into new markets including Alabama, Mississippi and northern Florida. The stores trade under the Food World, Food Max, Food Fair and Bruno's fascias, taking Ahold's US estate up to 1,600 stores. {{NEWS }}