Australian retailer eyes Pick n Pay
Business Live - Mar 26th 2012, 10:26
Woolworths Australia has been in discussions with local retailer Pick n Pay with a view to buying a stake in the group, according to local sources.
Pick n Pay executives have met the management of Woolworths Australia, and that of Dutch retailer Albert Heijn, in this regard.
A fund manager commented that Pick n Pay's founding family, the Ackermans, are "trying to do a deal but in some way keep control. They're mutually inconsistent objectives."
Since Walmart's arrival in SA, local companies have been looking for potential partners in product development and to strengthen buying power. They are also seeking out expertise in supply chain management and IT.
Spar has a relationship with Spar in the Netherlands, and Woolworths has a long-standing relationship with Marks & Spencer.
"The challenge for Pick n Pay is that the valuation is expensive, the strategic position is weak, operational management is thin and there's significant management uncertainty as to who fills the CEO role," said Shane Watkins, fund manager at Silk Road Fund Managers.
CEO Nick Badminton left the company last month.
"The recent capital raising by Shoprite is certainly not good news for Pick n Pay.
''It just gives Shoprite so much more flexibility to attack the market on their terms," said Watkins.
Evan Walker, portfolio manager at Momentum Asset Management, said Pick n Pay is still one of the top 10 brands in the country - a powerful business and a formidable brand.
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