Chilean retailer SMU floats on stock exchange, raises $200 mln

SANTIAGO, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Chilean retail group SMU finalized its initial public offering in Santiago on Tuesday, raising around $200 million as the owner of Unimarc supermarkets seeks to strengthen its financial position.

SMU, which is controlled by wealthy businessman Alvaro Saieh and Latin America’s Southern Cross private equity fund, is Chile’s No. 3 supermarket retailer, and has some operations in Peru.

The 24 percent stake was floated at a price of 113 pesos per share.

The offering is the second after Lipigas in November to follow a near four-year IPO drought in Chile, and had been postponed due to uncertain market conditions.

The company said that 80 percent of proceeds will be used to pay down debt, and the rest for capital requirements.

Saieh previously controlled Chile’s CorpBanca, which was taken oven by Brazil’s Itau Unibanco last year after a bruising battle with unhappy U.S. minority shareholders. (Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta; Writing by Rosalba O’Brien; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)