SPAR: 19,468 +80 (+0.41%)
South Africa's Spar close to buying controlling stake in Polish chain
(Adds results, details, share reaction)
JOHANNESBURG, May 15 (Reuters) - SPAR Group Ltd is
in the final stages of talks to buy a controlling stake in
Polish deli and supermarket chain Piotr i Pawel group, the South
African retailer said on Wednesday, part of efforts to expand in
SPAR, a grocery chain which also sells building materials
and medicines in southern Africa, already has operations in
Ireland, southwest England and Switzerland.
A deal with Piotr i Pawel - which operates 77 delicatessen
and supermarket stores plus a wholesale distribution network -
would expand its presence to Poland, which is enjoying a period
of robust economic growth and record low unemployment.
SPAR said it had been awarded a licence to operate its brand
in Poland. It did not give details on the value of the deal,
which is subject to regulatory approval.
SPAR, which has more than 4,000 stores, said headline
earnings per share (HEPS) fell by 3.4% to 523.6 cents for the
six months to the end of March from 542.1 cents a year earlier.
On a normalised basis, HEPS grew by 7.5%. These are adjusted
for finance costs, which included significant foreign exchange
effects on the translation of liabilities to acquire minority
interests in the Irish and Swiss businesses, it said.
Revenues rose 9% to 54.3 billion rand, in tough trading
markets, it said.
In Southern Africa, its biggest market, sales excluding the
S Buys pharmaceutical business rose 7.6%, hurt by weak consumer
spending and low inflation levels. But the results were boosted
by revenue growth of 19.3% in the liquor business and 8.3% in
the building materials business, the retailer said.
South African retailers have struggled to significantly lift
sales and profit at home to double-digit numbers as elevated
household debt, higher fuel prices and an increase in
value-added tax squeezes consumers' income.
At market open, shares in SPAR were down 2.52 percent to
(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Shreejay Sinha and
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