Christmas shopping sped up a few months at Alsea. The giant Mexican restaurant threw out a checkbook to get two bulwarks in Europe: 260 Starbucks outlets in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, and all restaurants in the VIPS group in Spain. A draft motion of a company that already operates all Starbucks, Domino's Pizza, Chili, California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang, Pei Wei, Italianni, El Porton, The Cheesecake Factory and VIPS of Mexico, and who now looks at the heart of Old We continue to diversify their sources of income and obtain natural exchange rate protection, given the vicissitudes of the peso and the intrinsic strength offered by the euro.
The name Alsea may not look very much like Spaniards, Argentines, Chileans, Colombians, and Uruguayans, but certainly some of them have left money in their coffers without even knowing it. The Mexican company already operates all Dutch Foster burgers, Cañas y las Tapas or La Vaca Argentina restaurants in Spain – more than 560 units in total – and all of Starbucks in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay. Now, with his new venture, he takes another step in his strategy to focus on solid markets to "offset the income he receives in Latin American currencies, which are much more volatile," says Veronica Uribe, an analyst at Monex Casa de Bolsa. According to calculations by Antonio Hernández of Barclays in Mexico, Europe (mainly Spain) will move from the assumption of the fifth part of Alsea's income statement to just over a third, which will dilute the market share that offers more margins, Mexico, from 55% to 45%.
Alberto Torrado, the new owner of Vips, brings applications on time
Your most profitable market loses weight yes, but with a clear goal: reduce risk. "The operation seems reasonable and reinforces our theory that the company is seeking more exposure to more stable areas," says Hernández. "It seeks more acquisitions in mature markets at a time when exposure in Latin America, especially in Argentina, is not so favorable for the exchange rate as for inflation, with an average consumer who is not resilient, which has reduced consumption. restaurants ". Before this second phase of Alsea's European adventure, its exposure to Argentina was about 8%, "but it caused noise in the market and now it will dilute more," he adds.
Another positive aspect of the acquisitions of VIPS (valued at € 500 million) and Starbucks – both still pending from the Spanish competition authorities and the European Union, respectively – is the increase in gross operating income – which will grow by 13%. second Mexican bank, Citibanamex and the synergies that these contribute to the European companies that it administers today. The downside is the increase in its debt, which in June was above 1.3 billion euros, and has not stopped growing in recent years. "However," says Monex's Uribe, "despite the predictable increase in net debt, the company has shown in the past that it can continue to grow."
Alsea, which will celebrate its investor's day this week, did not break the assumed debt, but the market speculates that a large part of the financial obligations acquired to acquire VIPS (hitherto controlled by the Mexican company Plácido Arango) will be euros. which makes sense given the interest rate differential between Mexico (around 8%) and the euro zone (still at zero): any peso-financed purchase would be subject to the first rate, while Starbucks in France and the Benelux , such as that of Vips in Spain, will, presumably, be made with a much lower interest. It is one of the advantages of going shopping on a continent where the price of money remains unglued.
In 2017, the Mexican giant made a net profit of 1,252 million pesos (almost 55 million euros at the current rate), 11% more than a year earlier. Though backed by inflation, which has given a good effect to the purchasing power of Mexicans over the last two years, Alsea is still on track in 2018. In the third quarter, its profits grew nearly 40%, driven by strict cost control and improvement of sales.