Russian supermarket chain Lenta said its has acquired the Monetka chain of 2,120 convenience stores for an undisclosed sum in a deal financed by cash and debt.
Shoppers have faced surging prices and falling incomes since the Kremlin ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, hitting spending power and boosting demand for cut-price goods.
The Kommersant daily in July quoted a market expert as valuing a possible Lenta purchase at RUB 60 billion to RUB 70 billion (€590 million - €680 million). A person familiar with the deal told Reuters that estimate was close to the actual figure.
Monetka has around 23,000 employees and operates mostly in the Urals and Western Siberia, strengthening Lenta's position there. Lenta said the Monetka brand would live on and that some of its Mini Lenta stores would be rebranded as Monetka.
The transaction was approved by the Lenta board of directors and Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS), Lenta said.
'Ambitious But Achievable Task'
"An ambitious but achievable task now stands before us - integrating the assets of two of the leading grocery chains in the country," Lenta CEO Vladimir Sorokin said in a statement.
This would involve combining the two chains' best practices and then integrating logistics, IT and operating systems, Sorokin said.
Lenta said the Monetka acquisition would help it to realise strategic plans to achieve revenue of RUB 1 trillion by 2025.
In April of this year, Lenta said its core profit slumped 62% in the first quarter of 2023 due to weak consumer demand, high inflation and economic uncertainty.