GIC-backed fund buys 17 properties from Brazil's GPA for $315 million

Barzel Properties, a joint venture between GIC and Brazilian investors, will rent the properties to cash-and-carry chain Assai. PHOTO: GIC

SAO PAULO (REUTERS) - Brazilian retailer GPA has reached a deal to sell up to 17 of its properties to investment fund Barzel Properties for about 1.2 billion reais (S$315 million), it said in a securities filing on Friday (Feb 25).

According to GPA, the properties will then be rented by cash-and-carry chain Assai for 25 years, which could be extended for an additional 15 years. The deal still requires approval from Brazil's antitrust watchdog, it added.

Both GPA and Assai are controlled by France's Casino Guichard Perrachon, while Barzel Properties is a joint venture formed by sovereign wealth fund GIC and local investors led by former Cyrela executive Nessim Sarfati.

The move comes as GPA, formally known as Companhia Brasileira de Distribuicao, plans to convert some of its Extra Hiper hypermarket stores into cash-and-carry stores to be operated by Assai Atacadista.

GPA had announced in October a 5.2 billion-real deal to sell 71 stores to Assai under such a plan.

According to Friday's securities filing, most of the Extra Hiper stores involved in the transaction have already been handed over to Assai, while the remaining ones are expected to be transferred by the end of the first quarter.

Assai expects to open about 50 new stores in 2022 - 10 to be opened in the first half of the year, and 40 conversions to the cash-and-carry format, with openings estimated for the second half of the year.

The other stores to be converted should be opened by the end of the first quarter of 2023, Assai said, adding that its goal is to reach 100 billion reais in revenue and more than 300 stores in operation in 2024.

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