Retailer Maxima to hone in on Poland after launching Baltic states’ biggest ever private sector bond issue

Retailer Maxima to hone in on Poland after launching Baltic states’ biggest ever private sector bond issue
A Maxima superstore in Lithuania's second city Kaunas; the retailer is now looking to boost its presence in the much larger Polish market.
By bne IntelliNews September 18, 2018

Lithuania-based retailer Maxima Grupe will increase its commitment to the Polish market, with board member Arūnas Zimnickas to “focus all his attention” on the group’s retail business in Poland. 

The announcement was made shortly after Maxima made its €300mn debut bond offering earlier this month. The bond issue was the first of this size by a private sector company from the Baltic states. It will be dual-listed on the Euronext Dublin and NASDAQ Vilnius stock exchanges.

The proceeds from the bond issue will help Maxima Grupe to refinance short-term financing for the acquisition of Polish retailer Emperia Holding, which the Lithuanian company completed earlier this year, the European Bank for Reconstruction of Development (EBRD) — one of the investors in the issue — said in a statement.

Maxima Grupe is the leading retail chain in the Baltic states, the largest employer and the second largest corporate in Lithuania. 

The company runs the Maxima retail chain in the Baltic States, as well as the Stokrotka and Aldik chains in the region’s biggest retail market, Poland. Maxima Grupe also owns the Bulgarian retail chain T-Market and online retailer Barbora that operates in Lithuania and Latvia. The company’s network totals over 1,000 stores.

The five-year bonds were purchased by more than 60 investors from 14 countries, with demand exceeding supply, Maxima said on September 6. One-third of the investors were from the Baltic and Scandinavian region, and the remainder from other European countries.

The EBRD has purchased €40mn worth of bonds from the €300mn debut bond offering of the Lithuanian retailer Maxima Grupe, the development bank said on September 14.

“The successful placement of the bond is a strong signal about the potential of the Baltic states’ capital markets, where the countries are committed to establishing a regional capital market to harmonise regulations and dismantle investment barriers,” the EBRD said.

Maxima followed up the bond placement with an announcement that the composition of its board will change with the departure of Vygintas Šapokas, who led the Maxima retail chain in Estonia, and the new focus for Arūnas Zimnickas, the current head of Spanish Supersol and a member of Maxima’s board, onto Poland, effective from October 1.

“We want to apply Arūnas’s long retail trade experience in diverse markets to develop Maxima Grupė’s projects in Poland, which is one of our key focal points for strategic expansion. So from now on the board will have a member who dedicates all his time and attention to that priority market, where we have a lot of plans and a lot of work to do,” commented Dalius Misiūnas, chairman of the board and CEO of Maxima Grupe, in a statement. 

BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and SEB Bankas were the arrangers and dealers for the bond programme and offering. Maxima’s lead legal adviser was Clifford Chance LLP, alongside TGS Baltic, which advised the retail group on Lithuanian law. The banks’ legal advisors were Linklaters LLP and Ellex Valiūnas.