Sklavenitis deal with struggling Marinopoulos seen as lifeline for latter

Sklavenitis deal with struggling Marinopoulos seen as lifeline for latter

Two of Greece’s biggest supermarket chains, Sklavenitis and Marinopoulos, reached a deal on Friday for the former to undertake the management of the latter’s 33 hypermarket stores, which account for a third of Marinopoulos’s turnover.

The two chains announced the set-up of a joint venture for the management of the 33 stores with an equal stake and an equal number of board members, though the chief executive will be appointed by Sklavenitis.

Crucially, the deal with Sklavenitis constitutes part of the Marinopoulos group’s restructuring plan, which also includes the sale of a majority holding in its pharmaceutical subsidiary, Famar. It is possible the joint venture model will also be implemented for other companies in the group. Sources say there is an interest from rival chains Vassilopoulos and Masoutis.

The 33 hypermarkets have a total surface area of 160,000 square meters and are located in the country’s main cities. They currently employ over 3,000 workers. At this stage the joint company will not incorporate Sklavenitis hypermarkets, while the issue of the new company’s logo is not a priority for now.

Besides the management of the 33 existing hypermarkets, the objective of the new company will be the creation of new ones.

The completion of the agreement is expected within two months and is pending the approval of the Competition Commission. It is being seen as an economic lifeline for the Marinopoulos group, while suppliers have also expressed satisfaction, in hopes of an earlier payment of Marinopoulos’s debts to them.

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