January 14, 2019 / 4:32 PM / 9 days ago

Core investors in Italy's Esselunga to buy out minorities

FILE PHOTO: A man pushes shopping carts outside Esselunga supermarket in Pioltello near Milan, northern Italy, September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian supermarket chain Esselunga said the majority owners of its parent company Supermarkets Italiani had exercised their right to buy the 30 percent they do not own.

Esselunga was founded by late businessman Bernardo Caprotti and 70 percent of its parent company is currently owned by Caprotti’s second wife Giuliana and their daughter Marina.

Giuliana and Marina will buy the rest of Supermarkets Italiani from Caprotti’s two children from his first marriage, Giuseppe and Violetta, a statement on Esselunga website said.

Following her father’s death, Marina and her mother were granted a call option to buy out minority investors within 2021.

The group, which said the purchase price would be determined by independent third parties, said a material part of the price may be funded by third-party financing.

Esselunga, which ranks as Italy’s fourth-biggest supermarket chain, recorded revenue of 7.75 billion euros ($9 billion), an adjusted core profit of 648 million euros and net financial debt of 848 million euros in 2017.

In October sources told Reuters the majority owners of the group wanted to team up with long-term investors to take full control of the business and squeeze out two of the family heirs.

The retailer’s family owners have been locked in a dispute since the death of founder Caprotti in 2016.

Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi and Francesca Landini; editing by David Evans

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