Shoprite to sell Nigerian division to Persianas Group

By Anthony Osae-Brown

(Bloomberg) – Shoprite plans to sell its Nigerian division to a local property group, according to a person familiar with the matter, as Africa’s largest food retailer pulls back from the continent’s most populous country.

Regulatory approval for Persianas Group to buy the Shoprite unit is expected by the end of April, said the person, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t yet public. While the asset has been valued by the seller at 30 billion naira ($73m), it’s not yet clear how much Persianas has agreed to pay.

Cape Town-based Shoprite didn’t immediately comment. Persianas didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment and a call to the company didn’t connect.

Shoprite, the owner of South African supermarket chains such as Checkers and U-Save, said last year it planned to exit Nigeria after 15 years operating in the country. The company has struggled with supply-chain disruptions and repatriating funds – both familiar problems to foreign businesses to have targeted the market.

Over the past decade, South African retailers Woolworths Holdings Ltd., Truworths International and Mr Price Group have all opted to walk away from Nigeria. Even wireless carrier MTN, which has built its Nigeria business into the company’s largest and most profitable and listed it in Lagos, has been caught up in various crises, especially with regulators.

Shoprite has said it will redouble efforts on increasing its dominance over the South Africa grocery sector, where it is by far the market leader.

The Persianas deal was earlier reported by Reuters.

– With assistance from Janice Kew.

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