Shoprite to Sell Nigerian Unit to Property Firm Persianas

Shoprite Holdings Ltd. plans to sell its Nigerian division to a local property group, as Africa’s largest food retailer pulls back from the continent’s most populous country.

The deal for Persianas Group Ltd. to buy the unit is subject to regulatory approval, Cape Town-based Shoprite said in a statement Thursday, confirming earlier reports. While the asset has been valued by the seller at 30 billion naira ($73 million), it’s not yet clear how much Persianas has agreed to pay, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Persianas didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment and a call to the company didn’t connect.

Shoprite, the owner of South African supermarket chains such as Checkers and U-Save, said last year it planned to exit Nigeria after 15 years operating in the country. The company has struggled with supply-chain disruptions and repatriating funds -- both familiar problems to foreign businesses to have targeted the market.

Over the past decade, South African retailers Woolworths Holdings Ltd., Truworths International Ltd. and Mr Price Group Ltd. have all opted to walk away from Nigeria. Even wireless carrier MTN Group Ltd., which has built its Nigeria business into the company’s largest and most profitable and listed it in Lagos, has been caught up in various crises, especially with regulators.

Shoprite has said it will redouble efforts on increasing its dominance over the South Africa grocery sector, where it is by far the market leader.

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