Bloomberg Línea — The main shareholders of beleaguered Brazilian retail giant Americanas (AMER3), Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira, have raised the capitalization proposal for the company from 10 billion to 12 billion reais ($2.36 billion), thus approaching the minimum amount that the main creditors, the banks, have demanded in order to discuss an agreement.
The proposed increase was informed to the market on Monday through a relevant fact.
“The most recent proposal submitted by the company, advised by Rothschild & Co, contains, with respect to the commitment of the reference shareholders to capitalize the company:
(i) A short-term capital increase, in cash, in the amount of 10 billion reais (considering the DIP financing already contributed);
(ii) two additional potential capital increases, on future dates being agreed, of up to 1 billion reais each.
The two additional capital increases may be triggered if the company is, on future dates to be agreed, above certain maximum leverage limits, or below a minimum liquidity level, both to be detailed in due course,” explained Americanas.
In the relevant fact, the retailer said that there is still no preliminary understanding, but that it is still negotiating with its main creditors.
The company has been in receivership since January 19, with declared debts of more than 42 billion reais ($8.29 billion) to some 9,000 creditors.
On March 28, the CEO of Americanas, Leonardo Pereira, acknowledged that the debt “is quite large” and that the initial intention was to pay its debts with small creditors. Of the 9,500 creditors included in the company’s recovery plan, 4,500 are company workers or micro and small companies.
“We tried to take out those smaller creditors, who are being very hurt in this process. The company started to pay. But an appeal came from a bank, asking to suspend payments. Out of 240 million reais, we paid 120 million to those creditors,” said Pereira.
The statement was made during a public hearing in Congress, which was attended by Sergio Rial, who ran Americanas from January 2 to January 11. Before leaving the company, the then CEO communicated to the financial market about the “accounting inconsistencies” of the company.
Rial classified the previous CEO of Americanas, Miguel Gutierrez, as a “centralizer”. He also said that between September and December 2021, he attended 21 meetings at the company as a consultant. But that only in January, after formally taking over the command of the company, he was informed by two directors about the problems in the balance sheet.
“I didn’t receive something on paper. I didn’t get something like a map. I was drip-fed information day after day. There was no predisposition to explain everything that happened. Nothing like that. What I knew was that the company had much more bank debt than it had reported. And what I didn’t know: how did they manage to do this for so long and why?” questioned Rial, according to a report by Agência Senado.
Around 12:30 pm Brazil time Monday, Americanas shares were down 0.99%, quoted at 1 real. The shares have accumulated a devaluation of 90% this year, while over 52 weeks the company’s shares have oscillated between a minimum of 0.64 reais and a maximum of 34.50 reais ($6.81).
The company has a market capitalization of 903 million reais ($178.2 million).