The sale of Exito supermarkets in Colombia accelerates. Today the Casino Group, with French capital, opened the way for the Salvadoran Calleja Group to acquire between 51% and 100% of the capital of the most important supermarket chain in the country. Calleja’s offer has been made in the form of a takeover bid and, in any case, seeks to obtain control of the board of directors’ decisions in their entirety.
The takeover bid started on December 19th and will continue until January 19th, 2024, when the transaction must be completed, once the Colombian Stock Exchange’s allocation has been passed at the end of the month. The transaction will have an offer price of $0.9053 per share, or 3,582.05 Colombian pesos at today’s Representative Market Rate. Exito’s shares have risen 30% since the announcement of its purchase by Calleja Group.
Grupo Calleja, which operates in El Salvador with the Súper Selectos brand and 111 stores in the country, is offering a price of only 72 pesos per share higher than the price at which Exito closed its trading last Friday. The share closed last week with a value of 3,510 in the Colombian stock market.
Through the takeover bid, the Calleja Group expects to acquire through Cama Commercial at least 661.91 million common shares, equivalent to 51% of Casino’s shareholding in Grupo Éxito, and a maximum of 1,297.86 million, representing 100%. The transaction is valued in a range of 599.22 million dollars and 1,174.95 million dollars, which means that the Salvadorans could pay between 2.21 billion pesos and 4.64 billion pesos to take over the main supermarket chain in Colombia.
Exito, present in three stock markets
Exito is the first Colombian company to operate in three different stock markets: Colombia, Brazil and, as of this year, the U.S. In foreign markets, the company operates under the American Depositary Shares (United States) and Brazilian Depositary Receipts (Brazil). These are physical securities that back foreign investments in these stock markets.
Exito’s shares have also appreciated in these international markets since Calleja’s takeover bid was made official. Specifically, in the North American market, it achieved an increase of 18.3% and in Brazil, 19.23%. Today on Wall Street, Exito’s stock started with a value of 5.77 dollars per share, but has already reached 6.83 dollars. In Brazil, the price of each share has gone from 14.45 Brazilian reais to 17.11, after the increase.
This being the case, the Calleja Group has also announced that “as previously communicated, the Casino Group expects that the purchaser will also launch a tender offer in the United States as part of the Transaction. As of today, the U.S. tender offer has not yet commenced, and the purchaser has not yet disclosed the dates during which the U.S. tender offer will remain open.”
Casino seeks to reduce its debt
As agreed, Casino’s Brazilian subsidiary, GPA, which owns 13.31% of Exito, will also sell its share to the Salvadorans. Calleja’s objective is to control, with a minimum of half plus one of the shares of Exito supermarkets, which are carrying a significant debt. The sale of Exito would mean a boost for Casino Group to reduce its losses.
Casino closed 2022 with an approximate debt in US dollars of 6.83 billion. The sale of Exito, therefore, provides important financial relief for the French conglomerate, after it initiated at the end of September of this year the transfer of a series of stores in France to its rival Intermarché, in the middle of a process to reduce its debt, which goes beyond the sale of its assets in South America.
The sale of 61 stores in Europe brought in US$220 million, an amount that Casino expects to increase in two more European sales phases, comprising a further 119 stores, with some 4,000 employees, and a third phase in which it is studying the option of selling 60 more points of sale.