Pão de Açúcar gives up buying G. Barbosa supermarket chain


Source: Valor Econômico, 08/06/2004

By Claudia Facchini 

SÃO PAULO - The controller of the Pão de Açúcar group, Abilio Diniz, gave up buying G. Barbosa, from Sergipe, the second largest supermarket in the Northeast. G. Barbosa is the last asset that the Dutch Royal Ahold still has to sell in Brazil. And Pão de Açúcar was the most likely candidate for purchase.

"We are out. The price that the Dutch want is very high. They think that G. Barbosa is worth a fortune ”, said Diniz, after participating, in São Paulo, in the seminar“ Parallel Brazil versus Economic Growth ”, promoted by the Brazilian Institute of Competitive Ethics (Etco) and which outlined a panorama of informality in the parents.
According to the controller of Pão de Açúcar, the chain has land to build stores in the capitals of the Northeast, including Natal, Maceió and Aracaju. "We think it is better to grow organically in the Northeast", he adds.

In March, Pão de Açúcar lost to Wal-Mart the dispute over Bompreço, the largest supermarket chain in the Northeast. After almost a year of negotiations, Ahold sold the Northeastern chain to the American giant for US $ 300 million. By the same criterion, G. Barbosa could be worth around R $ 100 million. In 2003, Bompreço earned R $ 3,4 billion and G. Barbosa, R $ 924 million.

O Wal-Mart is now prevented from buying G. Barbosa. As determined by the antitrust authorities, Ahold was forced to sell half of G. Barbosa's stores to a different buyer, who was not the same controller as Bompreço. The Dutch multinational, however, preferred not to break up G. Barbosa and sell the chain with all stores.

Yesterday, Pão de Açúcar's shares were traded up 3,2% on the day, at R $ 49,75 per thousand. The appreciation demonstrates greater investor optimism with the consumer sectors, which have been recovering since February.

Diniz chose as his banner the fight against informality, which, according to him, today represents the biggest problem faced by the company. Although Pão de Açúcar does not participate in the Etco Institute, which is financed by the tobacco, beverage and fuel industries, Diniz was the only entrepreneur who participated in the presentation of a study prepared by McKinsey consultancy. According to the study, 54% of the retail sector operates today in the informal sector and tax evasion allows establishments to have profit margins three times higher than formal companies.