July 18, 2017 / 1:49 PM / 2 years ago

Carrefour prices Brazil's largest IPO in four years at bottom of range

BOGOTA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Grupo Carrefour Brasil SA on Tuesday priced Brazil’s largest initial public offering in four years at 15 reais per share, the bottom of a suggested price range, according to a securities filing late on Tuesday.

A general view of a Carrefour supermarket in Sao Paulo, Brazil July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Reuters had reported the pricing earlier in the day citing sources familiar with the matter.

Carrefour Brasil, a unit of France’s Carrefour SA (CARR.PA) and Brazil’s largest supermarket chain, and shareholders secured 5.12 billion reais ($1.6 billion) with the transaction.

Carrefour Brasil sold 91.2 million shares in so-called secondary offering, in which current shareholders sell part of their stakes, and 205.8 million shares in primary offering, in which the proceeds go to the company’s coffers.

At 15 reais per shares, Carrefour Brasil will trade at a discount against rival GPA SA (PCAR4.SA) in terms of enterprise value over earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, a metric known as EV/EBITDA. Other multiples, such as sales over EBITDA, yield a premium for Carrefour Brazil.

Investors were reluctant to bid at the top half of the 15-19 reais suggested range for a company that lacks a substantial competitive advantage, fund managers said.

Still, the IPO should help Carrefour Brasil add muscle to take on GPA, whose food division has recovered amid slowing appliance sales. Carrefour recently surpassed GPA as Brazil’s No. 1 diversified retailer in sales.

The transaction seals the first phase of an alliance between Carrefour and Brazilian retail tycoon Abilio Diniz, which started in 2014. Diniz, whose family founded GPA, is Carrefour’s third-largest shareholder and has a seat on its board.

Carrefour Brasil’s IPO is the first of two such offerings this week, making it the busiest for share offerings since mid-February.

The separate offering of Brazilian depositary receipts (BDRs) in Colombia-based pharmaceutical firm Grupo Biotoscana SA has investors willing to place three times the amount of shares on offer at the mid-point of a 24.50-28.50 reais price range, two people with knowledge of the deal said.

Pricing of the offering, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was delayed to Friday after Biotoscana revised its financial statements in response to a regulatory inquiry over the accounting of its 2015 purchase of Laboratorio LKM.

Investors are wary of Brazilian IPOs after new issues failed to deliver promised returns over the past decade.

Less than one-third of the 115 IPOs priced since the start of 2007 yielded returns above Brazil’s interbank lending rate, Thomson Reuters data shows.

($1 = 3.1580 reais)

Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Bruno Federowski; Additional reporting by Dominique Vidalon in Paris and Tatiana Bautzer in São Paulo; Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Bruno Federowski; Editing by Tom Brown and Sandra Maler

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