UPDATE 1-Chile's Falabella to enter Mexico with Soriana joint venture
(Adds details of agreement, comments from Falabella, Soriana executives)
SANTIAGO, April 15 (Reuters) - Chilean retailer Falabella said on Friday it has agreed a joint venture with Organizacion Soriana, Mexico's second-largest supermarket chain, to develop its Sodimac home improvement stores and CMR financial services in Mexico.
The memorandum of understanding for the joint venture will require a total investment of $600 million in capital and real estate over 5 years, 50 percent from each company, Falabella said in a statement.
Together they expect to open 20 Sodimac stores in Mexico during the initial phase of the agreement.
"I am confident that this partnership will bring together two great companies and, together, we will offer an innovative proposal in home improvement and financial services which will be highly valued by the Mexican customer," said Ricardo Martin Bringas, Soriana's chief executive and director.
For Falabella, which already operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay, the entry into Mexico is "an important milestone in our expansion in the region," said the Chilean retailer's chairman, Carlo Solari.
Falabella and Soriana have given themselves 90 days to prepare the definitive agreement for the joint venture. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Diane Craft and Bill Rigby)
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