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Wal-Mart Buys Way Into Central American Market

From Reuters

Leading global retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Tuesday made its first entry into Central America, buying a one-third stake in privately held Central American Retail Holding Co.

Ahold, a Dutch food retailer and food services group, sold its indirectly owned 33.3% stake in the regional retailer to Wal-Mart for an undisclosed amount.

Ed Kolodzieski, chief operating officer for Wal-Mart International, said at a news conference in Guatemala City that the company hoped to have a majority stake in about a year.

“One future goal is to have a majority participation ... to be able to have more decision-making power and coordination of operations in the region,” he said. “This could happen at the end of 2006.”

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Wal-Mart shares Tuesday fell 80 cents to $43.21.


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