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Galeries Lafayette divests from Carrefour

Galeries Lafayettes

Galfa, the company owned by the Moulin family, owners of Galeries Lafayette, is no longer the largest shareholder in the retail giant Carrefour. The company has just partially disposed of its stake by selling 25 million shares and transferring 3.5% of its capital to the Carrefour group. Here are some explanations from the experts at AURIS Finance, a consultancy specialising in mergers and acquisitions.

Carrefour is rebalancing its shareholder base. The retail giant has launched a €700 million share buyback programme for 2024. The first step was to buy back 25 million shares held by Galfa, the parent company of Galeries Lafayette, which is owned by the Moulin family. Galfa acquired a stake in Carrefour ten years ago, when it held 13.73% of the capital and 17.5% of the voting rights. Since then, Galfa has been the group’s largest shareholder. Galfa sold 25 million shares for €365 million. This transaction brings Galfa’s stake in Carrefour to 7.71% of the capital and 13.3% of the voting rights, the group said in a press release. With this transaction, the Moulin family will become the second largest shareholder in the Carrefour group, after Peninsula, the holding company of the Brazilian billionaire Abilio Diniz, who died in mid-February, which owned 8.83% of Carrefour’s shares at the end of 2022.

Destroyed securities

The share buyback programme launched by the group as part of the Carrefour 2026 plan aims to “strike the right balance between continued investment, inorganic growth, and return on equity”. This programme, implemented from the end of the 2022 financial year, was approved by shareholders at the Annual General Meetings of 3 June 2022 and 26 May 2023. The 25 million repurchased shares will be destroyed, which will eventually increase the value of the remaining shares. For the time being, Galfa does not intend to divest further. “We have no plans to further reduce our stake in Carrefour and today, we reaffirm our support for the company,” the holding company’s vice-chairman said in a statement. Since 2023, the Moulin family has exited a number of assets, notably selling BHV Paris and a number of buildings around the former Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville in the heart of Paris to property company SGM for an estimated €500 million.

A favourable environment

Despite a lukewarm stock market reaction (Carrefour shares lost 2.94% on the day of the announcement of the partial withdrawal of the owner of Galeries Lafayette), the share buyback programme is benefiting from a favourable environment. For 2023, the group’s turnover is up 10.4% to €94.1 billion. At the same time, net profit is up 23% year-on-year to €1.66 billion. Even in France, where the group had experienced major difficulties following the covid pandemic, sales were up (+4.7% year-on-year). Against a backdrop of high inflation in Europe, the group said in its annual results that it was “fully rallying in a difficult environment” and had achieved “the vast majority of its operating targets”.

Our experts at your side

The retail sector is undergoing major consolidation and strategic realignment. 2024 will see new transactions that will impact the entire value chain. AURIS Finance’s experts are sector specialists. They will support you in your search for financing and will be at your side for your acquisitions and disposals.

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