Johannesburg – Africa’s largest retailer, Shoprite, yesterday returned more than R6-billion to shareholders after it flagged that it planned to walk away from Nigeria because of currency uncertainties and the complications of doing business in the continent’s biggest market.
Shoprite said it was in the process of dis-investing from Africa’s largest oil and gas producer.
The group says it had decided to embark on a potential sale of the West Africa business after operating it for 15 years.
It also said it had initiated formal proceedings with investors in Nigeria to offload part of, or its entire, stake in the country.
“Following approaches from various potential investors, and in line with our re-evaluation of the group’s operating model in Nigeria, the board has decided to initiate a formal process to consider the potential sale of all, or a majority stake, in Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Shoprite International Limited,” said Shoprite. “As such, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited may be classified as a discontinued operation when Shoprite reports its results for the year,” the company said.
The retail group entered Nigeria in December 2005, when it opened a supermarket in a new shopping centre.
The decision to dis-invest makes Shoprite the largest investor to dump Nigeria.