SAO PAULO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Lojas Americanas SA, Brazil’s largest discount retailer, has hired the local unit of Credit Suisse Group AG to underwrite an offering of new shares to fund an acquisition, a Brazil-based blog said on Thursday.
According to the widely read Brazil Journal blog, which did not identify its sources, the funds could also be injected into its struggling B2W Cia Digital e-commerce unit.
For years, Lojas Americanas outshone rivals in the Brazilian retail sector, delivering strong sales growth and steady margins. But investors have grown cautious due to a high debt burden and signs it may struggle to meet store opening targets.
In December, the board of Lojas Americanas authorized a one-third increase in the limit of outstanding stock to 2 billion common or preferred shares. The company had said the move was aimed at speeding up potential capital increases in the future.
Lojas Americanas has said it is interested in acquiring a stake in the fuel distribution unit of state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA. Local media reports have also cited it as a potential bidder for appliance retailer Via Varejo SA, controlled by GPA SA.
Brazil Journal said there has not yet been a decision on whether to issue shares to current shareholders or to the general public.
Press representatives for Lojas Americanas declined to comment on the report.
Preferred shares slipped 1.4 percent to 16.51 reais on Thursday, lagging behind a 0.8 percent increase in an index tracking retail and consumer goods companies listed in the São Paulo Stock Exchange. (Writing by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)