Penta Bids for Drug Store Chain Schlecker

Private equity firm Penta Investments has made an offer for German insolvent drug store chain Schlecker, less than a month after buying a 40% stake in Polish retailer EM&F, Reuters reported. Details of the offer were not released.

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Penta Investments has made an offer for German insolvent drug store chain Schlecker, less than a month after buying a 40 percent stake in Polish retailer EM&F.

“We made a non-binding offer on Friday last week,” a spokesman for Penta told Reuters on Friday, confirming a report in German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.

He declined to provide details of the offer.

Unlisted Schlecker, which competes with privately held peers Rossmann and dm, filed for insolvency in January after struggling to secure funds against a gloomy economic backdrop.

Administrator Arndt Geiwitz said on Wednesday he had received five serious offers for the chain, though it is currently not clear who is on his short list. He aims to pick an investor by the end of May.

Duesseldorf-based financial investor Droege said this week it had thrown its hat in the ring, but daily paper Stuttgarter Nachrichten said Droege had dropped out of the race.

Geiwitz declined to comment on that report, which also said there were no German bidders on the list. Droege was not immediately available for comment.

Penta Investments, a Czech-Slovak firm with assets of 3.4 billion euros ($4.44 billion), so far has only one holding in Germany, pet food maker Gimborn, its website shows.

Weekly magazine Focus separately cited financial and creditor sources as saying no buyer would be willing to pay more than 100 million euros for Schlecker considering investments needed to refurbish the stores. Media reports put the necessary investments at about 90-150 million euros. ($1 = 0.7655 euros) (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Additional reporting by Alexander Huebner and Angelika Stricker)