(Adds comments from executives, context and share performance)
SAO PAULO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Brazilian supermarket chain GPA SA could sell more than 3 billion reais ($683.99 million) in assets in the coming months, its chief financial officer said on Thursday, after weaker-than-expected quarterly results hammered its shares.
“We’re still analyzing and there will be significant opportunities to monetize assets in upcoming months,” CFO Christophe José Hidalgo told analysts and investors in a call to discuss fourth-quarter results.
GPA, which controlled by French retailer Casino Guichard Perrachon SA, aims to make more than 3 billion reais in divestments in the short and mid-term, Hidalgo said, citing real estate assets, gas stations and even operations in Argentina or Uruguay.
His remarks come as consolidation intensifies in Brazil’s food retailing amid fierce competition from regional players and GPA’s largest rival Carrefour Brasil SA as the country’s economic expansion has remained weak.
On Feb. 16, Carrefour Brasil announced a deal to buy 30 stores and 14 gas stations from smaller retailer Makro, owned by Netherlands-based SHV Holdings, for 1.95 billion reais ($450 million) in a push to boost its wholesale unit Atacadao.
GPA is also accelerating its own wholesale division by opening 20 new stores and converting 10 Extra-brand hypermarkets into Assaí formats throughout 2020, according to Assaí’s Chief Executive Belmiro Gomes.
The plan will require an investment of 1 billion reais, Gomes said, adding he sees margins relatively stable as cost control efforts compensate for a higher capital expenditure.
In its other division, encompassing Pão de Açúcar, Extra and Compre Bem brands, GPA will continue to renovate supermarkets, while adding convenience stores, said Jorge Faiçal, who leads the division.
Another major focus will be the revitalization of Extra hypermarkets, with 10 to be converted into Assaí stores this year, an equal number to potentially follow and a final 10 to be closed or sold, Faiçal added.
Shares in GPA were down 7% in early afternoon trading at 81.62, among the worst performers in Brazil main stock index , which was about 1% lower.
GPA reported on Wednesday reported a 71% drop in quarterly earnings, missing market expectations, after completing a costly reorganization.
In a report, BTG Pactual analysts said positive numbers at Assaí had “once again” been overshadowed by disappointing results at the other main unit.
In November, GPA acquired 96.57% of Colombia’s Almacenes Exito SA, as part of broader efforts by parent company Casino to simplify its shareholding structure in Latin America.
$1 = 4.3889 reais Reporting by Gabriela Mello Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy
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