El Corte Inglés buys back half of its stake from Sheikh Al Thani

step back from Al Thani in The English Court. The department store chain has just announced that it has reached an agreement with primefin, the company of the Qatari investor holding the shares of the Spanish company, to repurchase half of its shareholding, which until today was 11.07% of the share capital. The agreed price is not disclosed, but the company assures that the agreement reached values ​​100% of El Corte Inglés at 7,000 million eurosso the value of the operation is around 390 million euros.

Primefin’s decision marks the first divestment in the department store chain since it appeared in 2015 to help the company with a participatory loan. Until now, he had given some signs of his lack of interest in increasing his shareholding position. The clearest was the resignation years ago to control an additional 2.25% of El Corte Inglés for the interest generated by the financial aid it provided at the time. However, this percentage preferred to collect it in cash.

The operation was signed this Tuesday and has been fully financed with its own resources, which “proves the financial strength of the group and the solidity of its business,” explains El Corte Inglés in its statement. The company adds that, therefore, the repurchase It is carried out without an increase in the liability. at a time when it has the lowest level of debt in the last 15 years. The 5.53% that it acquires from Al Thani is destined to reinforce the treasury stock.

Primefin is a company domiciled in Luxembourg which maintains its shares in El Corte Inglés. This participation deteriorated due to the pandemic, according to the last documentation submitted to the commercial registry of the country. The company made an adjustment of 176 million euros to its investment commitment to the department store chain. Even so, he valued the total of his titles in the Spanish company at 971 million at the end of 2020 (1,1,147 million euros a year earlier).

The main claim of Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani, better known as Sheikh Al Thani, has been the IPO of El Corte Inglés. It was one of the requirements set in his landing conditions at El Corte Inglés and ended up receiving a large compensation years later for not having fulfilled. The period set to step on the parquet was five years and the money to be received for not fulfilling that agreement amounted to more than 30 million euros.

Mutual, reference partner

This Tuesday’s announcement comes after the consolidation of the Mutua group landing in the capital of El Corte Inglés, a fact that has changed the correlation of forces among all the shareholders. While the insurance group has become the reference partner for the family that owns the chain and daily management, more and more voices have pointed out that the Qatari investment cycle, which came during the presidency of Dimas Gimeno, it ran out.

Al Thani, which will remain with 5.53% in the capital, loses positions with respect to the rest of the proprietary sagas. The main one continues to be the Álvarez family, which takes the reins of El Corte Inglés and imposes its criteria with more than half of the share capital, because it manages 37.39% of the Ramón Areces Foundation and another 17.8% of its IASA Securities Portfolio. Below is 8% of Mutua, 9% of Caesar and 7.5% of Mancor wallet. Other minorities not individually identified add up to just over 4.81%.