Dutch retailer Ahold aims to sell it two US convenience store chains, Bi-Lo and Bruno, to a private equity group by the end of the year, according to a report in today’s Financial Times.

Since its dice with bankruptcy, the company has been working on a recovery via disposals totalling E2.5bn ($3.3bn), of which the proposed sale of the two convenience chains is a major part.

Industry insiders believe private equity funds Apollo and Cerberus are the main candidates to buy the assets of the businesses.

The proposed sale of the stores was announced in February this year, and the stores reached a combined sales total of $5bn for 2003.