Mercadia Holland BV has taken over the full shareholding of miniMax Discount, the operator of the discount retail network. Mercadia owns the Mic.ro chain of proximity stores, which is controlled by businessman Dinu Patriciu. The value of the transaction was not disclosed but market estimates place it at a few million euros.
“The acquisition of miniMax is part of the group’s development strategy for the local market and aims to create synergies between the two companies on the logistics and acquisitions side, which will allow us to optimize offers for the clients of both segments – discounter and proximity,” said Dan Ionescu, CEO of Mercadia Holland BV.
miniMax Discount is a Romanian company established in 2003 as a discounter opening in medium-size towns across Romania. It currently owns 31 stores in towns with over 10,000 inhabitants all over the country: Arad, Avrig, Braila, Buzau, Calan, Calarasi, Campulung Muscel, Cernavoda, Cisnadie, Hunedoara, Mangalia, Oltenita, Oravita, Pascani, Pucioasa, Ramnicu Sarat, Rasnov, Sinaia, Slatina (two) Stefanesti, Targoviste, Titu, Tulcea, Turnu Magurele, Urziceni, Vaslui, Victoria and Vulcan. The network’s full development stage is envisioned at 100 stores. The miniMax retail outlets have a sale surface of 750 sqm, with six cash registers and 80 parking places. The entire activity of the stores is coordinated and managed by the miniMax Discount logistic center, which occupies 15,000 sqm outside of Bucharest.
The previous owners of miniMax Discount were Austrian group Real4You, together with Rainer Exel, who runs the company, and Andreas Kampf, who is active on the sales segment.
Mercadia Holland BV owns the majority share packages in Mic.ro Retail, Bet Café Arena and iLearn. Mic.ro started operations in Romania this year by launching a chain of proximity stores, which currently includes 76 outlets and is planned to reach 300 by the end of the year. Bet Café Arena, launched this year as well, is a sports betting and coffee shop with 70 outlets across Romania. ILearn offers consultancy services in the human resources services industry.The acquisition comes at a time when retail sales are going down. According to research by analytical advisory firm Candole, Romanian retail sales are expected to fall by 4.6 percent this year, pushing sales figures back to their 2007 level. The drop follows another one of 10 percent in 2009.
The decline comes against the background of a contracting economy. The biggest fall was registered in June of last year when sales slid by 16.4 percent. Food and furnishing spending have seen drastic cuts, the report shows, while sales of fuel have dropped dramatically as transportation needs have reduced in a shrinking economy.