25 Oct 2017 14:13

Dixy buys back 20% of shares, not commenting on possibility of delisting

MOSCOW. Oct 25 (Interfax) - Dixy has repurchased around 20% of its shares in its buyback, the Russian retailer's CEO, Sergei Belyakov, said on a conference call.

He said the company did not have a particular target to reach in the buyback.

Nor did he comment on the possibility that Dixy might delist its shares, which analysts have been talking about. This for the shareholders to decide, he said.

The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) in October approved a request from JSC Dixy-Yug to buy up to 44.36% of retailer PJSC Dixy Group's shares.

The board of directors at Dixy Group in July approved a share repurchase program for the next 12 months, according to which Dixy Yug, the group's operating subsidiary, could buy 10% of the retailer's shares on the open market for not more than 2.5 billion rubles. Dixy Yug owned 3,041,339 ordinary shares in Dixy Group or 2.4% of issued shares when the buyback began.

The board then authorized Dixy Yug to purchase up to 5 billion rubles in Dixy Group shares in addition to the earlier approved financing of the share repurchase program. In order to comply with legislation regarding significant ownership thresholds, the company made a preliminary application to the FAS, seeking its consent on purchasing the additional amount of shares of Dixy Group, the company said.

If all the shares are repurchased, the stake held by Igor Kesayev, owner of the Mercury Group, combined with the stake held in treasury, might reach 73%, analysts at Aton have said.

Credit Suisse said Prosperity owned about 15% of Dixy, according to the data given by the analysts. The former owners of the Victoria supermarket chain own around 7% and Norges and ADIA each own 3.5%.

The Dixy board will look at the options for disposing of the repurchased shares once the program has been rounded off, the company said in July.

The treasury shares could theoretically be canceled used for M&A deals or sold, Credit Suisse analysts have said.

Analysts have also said it is possible that Dixy, which trades on the Moscow Exchange , will delist.

Dixy has 124.75 million issued shares, par value 0.01 rubles each.