The Lithuanian grocery retailer Maxima is in negotiations to buy the Polish company Emperia Holding, owner of the Stokrotka grocery chain, Polish investor platform Parkiet reports. Emperia Holding has confirmed to Parkiet that it has been negotiating with the Baltic market leader concerning its role as a potential investor, supporting the development of the company. This spring, Emporia Holding announced its intention to find an investor to acquire 100 percent of its shares by the third quarter of 2017. This guideline has now been postponed to the fourth quarter of this year.
Even if we shouldn’t be too quick to draw conclusions, this development at the very least reveals Maxima’s great ambitions in Poland. The question is of course how much it’s prepared to pay to fulfil these. We’ve known for a while that the retailer wants to expand its Aldik neighbourhood store chain to new Polish regions and acquiring the Stokrotka stores would be a perfect solution. The focus of the store network is in the Southeast of Poland, where the Aldik stores are also located. However, on top of that, Stokrotka has a national presence.
The Stokrotka formats would also fit with Maxima’s proximity expertise from its Baltic markets and is also highly compatible with its Polish Aldik stores’ concept. The Polish operations were acquired in 2012 and have so far only reached 29 stores. If a deal were to be struck we therefore think a renaming of the nationally established Stokrotka banner wouldn’t be the best way to go. LZ Retailytics data also shows that both Stokrotka’s smaller stores and its small supermarkets – with retail sales per sq m of EUR4,295 and EUR3,636 respectively – are more productive than Aldik, which has an average sales density of EUR3,045 per sq m.
LZ Retailytics estimates that an acquisition of Emperia would boost Maxima’s 2017 turnover to EUR729 mn, placing it as the 16th largest grocery retailer in the country. With the Lithuanian retailer as a new capital-strong owner, Emperia could resume its fight with other expanding mid-sized proximity players such as Dino, Mila and Polomarket for the highly promising convenience segment. This is an opportunity we think Maxima will be very keen to realise.