UPDATE 1-Mexico's Soriana to raise capital after Comerci deal

jueves 29 de enero de 2015 15:46 GYT

(Adds Comerci conference call)

MEXICO CITY Jan 29 (Reuters) - Mexican supermarket chain Soriana said on Thursday it would try to raise between $500 million and $600 million in capital, and sell assets, after announcing it would buy most of rival Comercial Mexicana.

No.2 supermarket chain Soriana said on Wednesday it will buy 160 stores from the fourth largest, Comercial Mexicana, for $2.66 billion.

Soriana Chief Executive Ricardo Martin told a conference call on Thursday the company will reduce its debt over a four-year period, partly by raising the capital and by selling between $100 million and $120 million of assets.

After the deal, Comercial Mexicana, known locally as Comerci, will be left with just 40 stores and some other assets that it will spin off to create a new company less than a quarter of its original size.

Comerci Chief Financial Officer Jose Calvillo said on a separate conference call that the company would focus on giving the spinoff financial flexibility, and that it was not currently planning a dividend.

He added that the company was open to making acquisitions, including of regional chains.

In August 2014, Comerci sold its restaurant business to retailer Grupo Gigante for $81 million. Castillo said on Thursday he expected that sale to be completed by the end of February.

In afternoon trading, Comerci shares were down 6.13 percent at 46.13 pesos, while Soriana shares were down 3.01 percent at 36.15 pesos. Mexico's blue chip IPC index was down 0.64 percent. (Reporting by Christine Murray and Gabriela Lopez. Editing by Andre Grenon)