ICA (Inköps-Centralen Aktiebolag) is a Swedish corporate group in the retail business. The company was started in 1938, based on a business model which was introduced by Hakonbolagen since 1917. The company was owned by the participating retailers until 2000 when half of the company was sold to the Dutch retailer Royal Ahold. Royal Ahold is however prevented by contractual obligation not to exercise majority control over ICA even if it later should acquire a majority of the shares. Most of its operations are based in Scandinavia, and the company is the largest retail company in the Nordic countries.
ICA claimed that the decision to rebrand its business was not related to Ahold's current financial troubles Â– the company is reeling from the impact of widespread fraud Â– but was meant to Â“sharpen the clarity of ICA's profile in the marketÂ”.
In a statement, ICA said that the Nordic food retail industry was in a state of powerful change, with increased competition from both established players and new entrants, as well as from restaurants, convenience stores and fast-food chains.
ICA is present in six countries - Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Â– and operates under the ICA and RIMI fascias in the food retail sector, ICA MenyfÃ¶retagen in foodservice, ICA Banken in financial services, Etos in the pharmacy sector and Statoil Detaljhandel in the service station sector.
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