Shares in Grupo Casas Bahia SA tumbled after the Brazilian retailer priced an equity offering at a steep discount, a blow to its latest effort to raise new money and slash debt.
(Bloomberg) — Shares in Grupo Casas Bahia SA tumbled after the Brazilian retailer priced an equity offering at a steep discount, a blow to its latest effort to raise new money and slash debt.
Casas Bahia — formerly known as Via — sold new stock at 80 centavos apiece last night, a 28% discount to Wednesday’s closing price, raising about 623 million reais ($128 million). If subscription warrants included in the transaction are fully exercised, the amount rises to 1.1 billion reais, the company said in a regulatory filing.
The stock fell as much as 32%, before paring losses to 17% in Sao Paulo Thursday, with trading being halted several times by the local exchange. The shares are down 96% from their 2020 high, when they soared amid the e-commerce surge driven by the pandemic. The rout has erased about 32 billion reais ($6.6 billion) in market value.
Wednesday’s offering comes as investors grow increasingly worried about the company’s debt load and weak operating results. The Brazilian company, which replaced its chief executive officer in the first half of the year, posted a net loss of 492 million reais for the three-month period ended June 30. It said it will use the offering’s proceeds to improve its capital structure.
Holders of Casas Bahia’s real estate-backed bonds are expected to gather soon after S&P Global Ratings cut the rating on its local debt last week. Debt holders will vote on whether to declare the early maturity of these notes due to the downgrade.
Casas Bahia is one of Brazil’s most popular retailers. The retail chain was founded in the 1950s by Polish immigrant Samuel Klein. His son and retail mogul Michael Klein is a current shareholder and had shown interest in participating in the offering.
The company — that sells everything from appliances and electronics to furniture and auto-parts across 21 Brazilian states — has been grappling with high interest rates in the South American country. It’s also facing increasingly fierce competition from players including regional e-commerce powerhouse MercadoLibre and Sea Ltd.’s Shopee.
Under its credit arm, Casas Bahia has a loan portfolio of 5.3 billion reais — selling its consumers’ debt to banks but remaining responsible for delinquencies. That mechanism has the retailer and some of its investors diverging on how that fits into its balance sheet.
Via says its net debt ended the second quarter at 900 million reais, while analysts from Citigroup Inc. calculate it excluding credit card receivables, and thus see a higher amount of about 2.8 billion reais.
–With assistance from Ney Hayashi.
(Updates stock move in third paragraph, adds context starting in seventh paragraph.)
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