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Brazil's GPA mulls $200 million share offering to reduce debt

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SAO PAULO, Dec 10 (Reuters) -Brazilian food retailer GPA PCAR3.SA on Sunday said it has hired banks to evaluate a potential offering of primary shares worth 1 billion reais ($203.00 million) as part of a broader plan to reduce financial leverage.

The company, backed by indebted French supermarket chain Casino CASP.PA, has engaged Itau BBA and BTG Pactual to analyze the feasibility and terms of the potential transaction, while BR Partners has been hired as a financial advisor, according to a securities filing.

If the offering is successful, "the funds raised will be used to reduce the company's debt, consequently lowering its leverage," GPA said.

As part of its plan, GPA has sold a 34% stake in Cnova to Casino, as well as the ongoing sale of its stake in Colombian retailer Almacenes Exito IMI.CN.

GPA called a general meeting for Jan. 11 to vote on the capital increase and a proposal for a new composition of its board of directors that would be subject to the conclusion of the share offering.

Under the proposal, which appoints Renan Bergmann as chair, the firm's board would have six independent members, two members appointed by Casino and GPA CEO Marcelo Pimentel as a member representing its management.

"The proposed composition is consistent with the potential dilution of the current controlling shareholder," GPA said.

The company in a separate statement earlier on Sunday said that Grupo Calleja has launched in Colombia the first notice of a tender offer to acquire 100% of Exito's shares, subject to a minimum acquisition of 51%.

The offer will be open from Dec. 18 to Jan. 19, with its closing schedule for the end of January.

($1 = 4.9262 reais)

Reporting by Paula Arend Laier and Peter Frontini; Editing by Mark Porter


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