Eastbridge to sell Poland's EM&F
Eastbridge Chief Executive Maciej Dyjas denied the report, saying: "Eastbridge has no plans to sell EM&F."
The retailer, which operates in eastern Europe as well as in Germany and Turkey, includes Poland's top book seller Empik and has distribution rights to fashion brands such as Hugo Boss, GAP and Esprit.
"The group will be put up for sale," one source familiar with the matter told Reuters, a prediction which was confirmed by two other people familiar with the matter. The sources said five private equity funds were eyeing the process, with Penta and Advent among them.
Neither of the potentially interested funds was immediately available for comment.
Sources see the deal happening next year, though the process may be hard with economies slowing as well as the potential Polish market entry looming of Amazon.com, the world's largest online retailer.
EM&F, which has a stock market value of $244.3 million, swung to a net loss of 6 million zlotys in the first nine months of 2011 from a 2 million zloty net profit a year earlier, weighed down by weaker sales in clothes and cosmetics.
The retailer, whose shares are down 62 percent year-to-date, managed to close last year with a net profit of 75 million zlotys, as it generates almost all of its profits in the seasonally strong fourth quarter.
The stock was up 3.4 percent at 8.22 zlotys in late trade. ($1 = 3.3855 Polish zlotys) (Writing by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by David Holmes)
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