Supermarket chain Ica has claimed that a deal with NorgesGruppen will secure the future survival of its stores across Norway, saving jobs in the process.
"We are very happy and not least thankful that the ministry has given us the possibility to start a purchasing cooperation with NorgesGruppen," Ica managing director Thorbjørn Theie told the NTB news agency.
"This is about Ica's and our staff's future, and this deal will be an important factor in turning the company around."
Theie said he interpreted the decision from the State Administration Ministry as a positive signal, hoping the deal would get final approval in the near future. The final word, however, lies with Norway's Anti-Trust Authority (Konkurransetilsynet), which will come to its final conclusion on the purchasing deal this autumn.