Oct 11, 2012
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Otto eyes partial sale of France's 3 Suisses

Oct 11, 2012

FRANKFURT Oct 10 (Reuters) - Germany's Otto is considering selling parts of its French mail-order retailer 3 Suisses, which has suffered a slide in sales, a spokesman for the company said.


"We have involved banks and are currently examining the market to see which parts could be sold," an Otto spokesman told Reuters late on Wednesday.

He said a sale of Otto's entire 51 percent stake in 3 Suisses, which has annual sales of about 2 billion euros ($2.58 billion), was not the primary goal but could not be ruled out.

The move comes as French retail and luxury group PPR struggles to sell its Redcats mail order business and weeks after Germany's largest mail-order pharmacy, Sanicare, filed for insolvency.

PPR already tried to divest the company last year but pulled the sale when it became evident it would not get its preferred price of 1.5 billion euros.

Unlisted Otto, Germany's last major mail-order company after the insolvency of Neckermann and Quelle, has been building its stake in 3 Suisse since 1974. French family Mulliez holds 46 percent of the company, while the rest is owned by employees.

The Mulliez family, which also controls French retailer Auchan, was not immediately available for comment.

German daily Financial Times Deutschland earlier cited company sources as saying Otto last booked a loss of more than 50 million euros from its holding in 3 Suisses, following a 5.6 percent decline in annual sales. ($1 = 0.7751 euros) (Reporting by Andreas Kroener; Additional reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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