Walmart de Mexico to consider offers for restaurant business

Mexico City, Jun 14 (EFE).- The Mexican subsidiary of U.S. retail giant Walmart said Friday it had put its Vips restaurant business, which includes the chains Vips, El Porton, Ragazzi and La Finca, up for sale.

In a regulatory filing, Walmart de Mexico said it had "started a competitive process to consider potential third-party offers" for Vips.

"This process is in its early stages and there can be no guarantee that a sale will take place or other terms and conditions of a potential transaction," the filing said.

It noted that Vips is "an industry leader" in Mexico with 364 establishments serving approximately 79 million customers annually and employing nearly 18,000 people.

The Vips restaurant business eclipses that of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, whose Sanborns chain has 164 store-restaurants, and Corporacion Mexicana de Restaurantes, which owns the Wings and Chili's franchises in Mexico and has 116 establishments.

At the close of 2012, "Vips accounted for 1.7 percent of consolidated sales of Walmart de Mexico and 1.6 percent of its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization)," the filing said.

After the announcement, Walmart de Mexico's shares were up 0.36 percent in early trading on the Mexican Stock Exchange.