Spain’s Grupo DIA has issued a statement denying that that Russian businessman, Mikhail Fridman, has a controlling interest in the retail group.
LetterOne Investment Holdings is the current majority shareholder in DIA, however the retailer clarified that 'no individual shareholder' of that business – neither Fridman nor co-founder Petr Aven – exerts control over DIA's operations.
Both Fridman and Aven have been sanctioned by the EU for their links to the Kremlin.
'Message Of Solidarity'
In a statement signed by executive chairman Stephan DuCharme, the group expressed its 'dismay at the situation in Ukraine' and 'absolute rejection of the war'.
At the same time, it wishes to convey to the Ukrainian people 'a message of solidarity and support for the heartbreaking humanitarian consequences that are affecting millions of people'.
The group said that its Board of Directors is made up of Spanish, Brazilian and Portuguese members, while the shareholder base has always been made up of investors of diverse nationalities and origins.
In reference to recent sanctions introduced as a reaction to the Ukrainian crisis, Grupo DIA said it 'wishes to convey a message of stability', adding that it 'is not currently affected in any way in the countries in which it operates'.
'Not Subject To Sanctions'
In its statement, the Spanish group pointed out that 'no shareholder of LetterOne, including Fridman, holds, either individually or by agreement with other shareholders, control of LetterOne'. Therefore, 'neither LetterOne, nor consequently DIA, is subject to any sanctions'.
LetterOne fund acquired a majority stake in DIA in May 2019 through a takeover bid, holding 77.7% of the group's share capital.
Grupo DIA operates almost 6,000 stores in Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Brazil.
© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest Retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.