Washington D.C.-based Acon Investments has bought GBarbosa Comercial Ltda. from Koninklijke Ahold NV. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. GBarbosa is the largest supermarket retailer in the northeastern Brazilian state of Sergipe and the seventh largest in Brazil.
GBarbosa operates 32 hypermarkets and supermarkets in the states of Sergipe and Bahia, has 5,800 employees and generates approximately US$ 370 million of annual revenue. In addition, GBarbosa operates its own private label credit card with over half a million cardholders.
GBarbosa will continue to be led by Gerard Scheij, the current CEO who has spearheaded GBarbosa’s growth over the last few years. Along with Acon, management believes that GBarbosa is poised for significant growth not only in its existing markets, but also in regions where traditional retailers have still not penetrated.
“GBarbosa has a long tradition of providing high quality products and services at affordable prices and we expect to expand that tradition throughout Brazil’s Northeast,” said Mr. Scheij.
Acon partnered with several investors to acquire GBarbosa including the European Development Banks, FMO and DEG.
In its Latin American investment practice, Acon has sponsored some of the most successful private equity investments in Latin American retailing.
Through Newbridge Andean Partners, L.P., a Partnership it manages, it holds a controlling interest in Carulla Vivero, S.A., the second largest retailer in Colombia.
Under Acon’s ownership, Carulla Vivero has led the consolidation of the Colombian retail industry evolving from a regional retailer with less than $110 mm in sales in 1998 to a nationwide multi-format chain comprising over 135 stores and approximately $700 mm of sales.
During this period, Carulla Vivero’s EBITDA has more than tripled and its EBITDA margins have expanded from 5.4% to 8.5% making it one of the most profitable and efficient retailers throughout Latin America.
Additionally, in 2004, Acon acquired a significant interest in Fybeca, the leading pharmacy chain in Ecuador with $173 mm of sales, over 150 stores nationwide and a dominant market share of nearly 30% in pharmaceutical retailing.
Acon has also recently announced other developments within its portfolio including its February 23, 2005 announcement of its sale of Florimex, a leading marketer and distributor of fresh cut flowers, potted plants and decorative foliage worldwide which Acon acquired in 2001.
Acon Investments is a Washington, D.C.-based private equity investment firm which has managed approximately US$ 725 million of capital. Founded in 1996, Acon manages private equity funds and special purpose partnerships with investments in the United States, Europe and Latin America.
Among its activities, Acon is affiliated with Texas Pacific Group, one of the leading private equity organizations in the world. Acon pursues a theme-based investment strategy by focusing on industries or businesses at key inflection points in their development and pursues these opportunities in close partnership with established management teams. Acon has offices in Washington, D.C. and Madrid, Spain.
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