Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Bentonville, Arkansas, U.S.) purchased Sonae's retail operations in Brazil, including 140 hypermarkets, supermarkets and wholesale units. The transaction was valued at approx. $757 million.
The Sonae retail company was formerly owned by the Portuguese group Modelo Continente and is based in Porto Alegre. It has approximately 20,000 employees, with operations in the state of Sao Paulo and the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Parana.
"This acquisition reinforces our commitment to Brazil," said Mike Duke, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores. "We are looking forward to the opportunity to offer customers in a new region the low prices, wide assortment of merchandise and outstanding customer service that we have become known for providing in other parts of the country."
The purchase was announced in Sao Paulo by Wal-Mart in the Americas President and CEO Craig Herkert and Wal-Mart Brazil President Vicente Trius. Herkert noted that Wal-Mart has significantly strengthened its position in Latin America with the Sonae purchase and the acquisition in September of a one-third interest in Central American Retail Holding Co. (CARHCO), the region's largest retailer.
Trius said Sonae will improve Wal-Mart's position as a national retailer in Brazil, giving it a total of 295 units in 17 of Brazil's 26 states. Wal-Mart Brazil recently opened its first Supercenter in the federal district of Brasilia, the nation's capital. In 2004, Wal-Mart acquired the 118-store Bompreco chain in northeastern Brazil from Dutch retailer Ahold.
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