Sorainen has advised the shareholders of Palink, the operator of the IKI grocery retail chain, on the EUR 213 million cash sale of 100% of Palink shares to ICA Gruppen, the shareholder of the Rimi Baltic retail chain. Valiunas Ellex advised the buyers on the deal, which is reported to be the largest M&A transaction in Lithuania this year, and which makes Rimi Baltic the second largest player in the Lithuanian grocery retail market.
Subject to obtaining regulatory approvals the transaction is expected to complete not later than in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Palink is currently the second biggest grocery retailer in Lithuania, operating more than 230 stores. Established by three brothers from Belgium in 1991, Palink opened its first store, billed as Lithuania’s first self-service food shop, in July 1992. Today Palink is an EUR 630 million-turnover company with an EBITDA of EUR 35 million in the 12 months that ended September 2016. Rimi Baltic operates a grocery retail business in the three Baltic States with 262 stores in total, 56 of which are in Lithuania.
"This investment of the Swedish company ICA Gruppen is an excellent sign to Lithuania," said Valiunas Ellex Partner Dovile Burgiene. "It bespeaks the confidence that global business has in Lithuanian retail market, its perspective, and its economy at large. It is natural that formally the transaction will be completed in the fourth quarter of the next year, as the merger of two competitors must be carefully assessed by the regulatory authorities in terms of its impact on the market.""
The Sorainen team was led by Partner Laimonas Skibarka and Specialist Counsel Liudas Ramanauskas.
In addition to Burgiene, the Valiunas Ellex team consisted of Inga Ciagiene, Julija Nikitaraviicene, Marius Juonys, and Aleksandr Asovskij.