Danish company sells U.K. supermarket unit to Wal-Mart’s Asda

Copenhagen Dansk Supermarked has sold its British supermarket chain Netto Foodstores Ltd. to Wal-Mart Stores’ subsidiary Asda Stores Ltd. for 778 million pounds ($1.1 billion), it said Thursday.

Dansk, a division of the Danish container shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk, said it is selling agreed to sell Netto to Asda as part of an effort to focus on the development of its business in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Poland.

Asda said it will convert the 193 Netto stores in Britain into Asda stores and integrate them into its new supermarket division for units smaller than 25,000 sq. ft.

The company said the acquisition is part of its strategy to satisfy demand for its stores in a broader range of U.K. communities and its commitment to its smaller stores division.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval in Britain. Asda said it expects to complete the transaction after approval from the Office of Fair Trading later this summer.

Dansk Supermarked CEO Erling Jensen said the Netto stores in the British branch have been "profitable."

Dansk Supermarked, which is Denmark's largest retail group, will own more than 1,100 stores with 40,000 employees after the transaction.