* Chilean retailers flexing muscles across Latin America
* Falabella already in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru
SANTIAGO May 27 A unit of Chilean retailer Falabella has inked a deal to buy a 50.1 percent slice of Brazilian home improvement chain Dicico for 388 million reais ($189 million), the Andean company said on Monday evening.
Falabella, already present in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru, will now operate in the region's top economy.
The purchase is the latest example of Chilean retailers' aggressive expansion in Latin America, as they seek to tap into the region's generally booming domestic demand.
Sodimac, Falabella's home improvement and construction materials unit, is set to wrap up its purchase on June 30, Falabella added in the statement. The retailer will then have control of the chain which boasts 57 stores in the state of Sao Paulo and reaped 789 million reais in revenue last year.
"This operation gives our regional growth a new boost, as it allows us to enter Latin America's biggest market via a home improvement chain with a strong presence in the Sao Paulo area, as well as ample experience and local knowledge," Falabella's Chief Executive Officer Sandro Solari said.
The purchase will be financed in part by Falabella's own resources and in part by banking funds "depending on what we decide," the retailer said in a statement to the regulator.
Falabella is looking at options to grow more aggressively in Latin America, Vice-President Carlo Solari had told Reuters in January.