Walmart Sheds Majority Stake in Brazilian Stores

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Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has sold an 80% stake in its Brazilian stores to private equity firm Advent International for an undisclosed sum. The retailing giant will retain a 20% stake in its Brazilian operations.

In its announcement, Walmart said it would take a non-cash, net loss of approximately $4.5 billion in the second fiscal quarter.

Walmart owns 438 stores in Brazil that posted 2017 revenues of about $6.7 billion. The Brazilian business employs about 55,000 workers.

In late April, Walmart sold Asda Group, its British operation, to rival retailer J Sainsbury, and last month it acquired a 75% stake in India’s Flipkart, that country’s largest e-commerce company, for $16 billion.

Regarding the $4.5 billion loss, Walmart said:

A significant portion of the net loss is due to the recognition of cumulative foreign currency translation losses and the final loss could fluctuate significantly due to changes in currency exchange rates up to the date of close. Following an anticipated close later this year, Walmart expects no ongoing material impact to EPS in the current fiscal year and a slight positive impact next fiscal year.

According to a Reuters report in January, Walmart has been posting losses in Brazil since 2009. The company first expanded into Brazil in 1996.

Advent International has invested in some 30 Brazilian companies since opening an office in the country in 1997. The firm owns stakes in an apparel retailer and a home improvement retailer, among other investments.

Walmart’s goal is clear: get rid of marginal performing businesses and beef up the company’s presence in growing markets. South Asia is among the fastest growing markets in the world, and Walmart was willing to pay a premium to keep rival Amazon from gaining a greater hold on India’s nascent online market.

Walmart stock traded up about 2.1% in the noon hour Monday, at $84.75 in a 52-week range of $73.13 to $109.98.

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