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ShopRite closing deal to exit Nigerian market

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Agency Report_

ShopRite is closing deal with a local property group, Persianas, to sell its Nigerian division, as Africa’s largest food retailer plans to pull out from the continent’s most populous country.

However, the deal for Persianas to buy the unit is subject to regulatory approval, Cape Town-based ShopRite said in a statement on Thursday, confirming earlier reports.

While the asset has been valued by the seller at 30-billion naira ($73m), it is not yet clear how much Persianas has agreed to pay, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Persianas did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment and a call to the company did not connect. 

ShopRite, the owner of Checkers and USave, 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, Woolworths, Truworths and Mr Price have all opted to walk away from Nigeria.

Even wireless carrier MTN, 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 SA grocery sector, where it is by far the market leader.

ShopRite share were up 0.67% to R150.29 on Thursday.

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