© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man sits in front of an Exito supermarket logo in Bogota, Colombia March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez/File Photo
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian retailer GPA said on Friday it had taken the first steps towards spinning off its Colombian subsidiary Almacenes Exito SA and plans to distribute its shares to existing shareholders.
Reuters reported last year that GPA was considering the spin-off, as its French parent company Casino planned to simplify its structure in Latin America to reduce its debt.
In a securities filing, GPA said Exito had applied to be a publicly-held company in Brazil and list Brazilian Depositary Receipts (BDRs) on the Sao Paulo stock exchange. Exito also plans to list American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) in New York.
The firm expects to deliver the shares in the form of BDRs and ADRs to shareholders in the first half of next year.
Exito, which operates supermarkets and shopping malls in South America, has market value of some $925 million, according to Refinitiv data.
Following the spin-off, GPA will retain a 13% stake in Exito, down from its current holding of nearly 97%.
The deal is still pending necessary approvals, including from GPA’s shareholders and regulators, the retailer said.