11 de noviembre de 2015 / 21:15 / en 2 años

Brasil Pharma sells money-losing unit for $12 mln -source

SAO PAULO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Brazilian drugstore chain Brasil Pharma SA sold on Wednesday its money-losing subsidiary Mais Econômica to a group of local investors for about 45 million reais (US$12 million) as it tries to return to profitability and cut debt, a source with direct knowledge of the transaction said.

Rio de Janeiro-based Verti Capital completed the purchase of Mais Econômica on Wednesday afternoon in São Paulo and the acquisition will be paid over one to three years, said the source, who requested anonymity because the transaction remains private.

The sale of Mais Econômica, which operates 188 stores in the Brazilian southern states of Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná, gives a respite to BR Pharma, which has struggled to integrate rival chains it has bought since 2009.

BR Pharma is controlled by investment banking firm Grupo BTG Pactual SA and has more than 1,000 drugstores across Brazil. A spokeswoman for BR Pharma did not have an immediate comment.

BR Pharma had a loss of 168.7 million reais in the first six months of 2015, compared with a loss of 328.4 million reais recorded in the same period last year.

The company, which was created after the acquisitions of Rosario, Farmais, Sant‘Anna, Big Ben and Mais Economica pharmacy chains, has grappled with integration issues, high debt and rising competition. (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal)

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