For third time in less than a year, French group is selling shares in Brazilian cash-and-carry chain
This is the third time in less than a year that Casino has sold shares in Assaí — Foto: Julio Bittencourt/Valor
One week after the end of the lock-up period for the sale of shares, Casino is leaving Brazilian cash-and-carry chain Assaí. Thursday morning, the French group completed the sale of its remaining 11.7% stake in the company in a block trade on B3.
Following a survey of investors, the block was put up for sale on the stock exchange at 10 am this Thursday for 24 hours, Valor found. This means that the closing will not take place until Friday morning. Sources say that the block was launched with anchor investors, with enough demand to place the operation. BTG Pactual was hired to advise the firm on the deal.
This is the third time in less than a year that Casino has sold shares in Assaí. In the two previous offers, in November 2022 and last March, the French company raised a total of R$6.6 billion. Pressures from the group’s creditors influenced the operations. The company is in talks in France to reduce its debt.
The stake of 11.7% in Assaí will be reduced to zero, with Casino pocketing around R$2 billion. The auction call was initially set at R$12.68 per share. The final price of the transaction will be determined Friday morning, depending on effective demand. In Thursday’s trading session, the stock closed at R$13,36, a 0.3% drop.
Since the beginning of the month, investors had been polled by banks to gauge their appetite for the stock. There was a market expectation that Casino would make the sale immediately after the end of the 90-day lock-up period agreed upon after the last secondary offering, which ended last week.
There was also a market expectation that Assaí could take advantage of its former controlling shareholder’s exit to carry out a primary offering to strengthen its cash reserves at a time of high interest rates, but this would require a secondary offering, which would require the company’s involvement. The block trade is a much faster and less bureaucratic process, but Brazilian regulations only allow a secondary sale.
The deal comes at a time Casino is negotiating its debts with creditors in France. In this aspect, Assaí has helped the retailer gain some breathing room. The retailer’s exit from the capital of the Brazilian company has been well received by investors since the first movement of selling shares.
The scenario has become more positive in recent weeks for deals, which has encouraged more companies to issue shares, especially secondary offerings. This week, for example, the medical group Oncoclínicas has already priced its offer. Next week the operations of Localiza, Vamos, and Direcional will be completed, in a clear movement of improvement in the sentiment of issuers and investors.
*Por Fernanda Guimarães — São Paulo
Source: Valor International