Spanish supermarket Dia to slash jobs

A man walks past a Dia supermarket in Madrid on February 5, 2019. — AFP pic
A man walks past a Dia supermarket in Madrid on February 5, 2019. — AFP pic

MADRID, Feb 8 — Financially troubled Spanish supermarket group Dia said today it wanted to cut up to 2,100 jobs as it reported a massive loss.

Dia, the target of a public buyout offer by the Russian oligarch who is already its top shareholder, reported a net loss of €352.5 million (US$399.3 million) for 2018.

The discount supermarket chain, which has had to reduce prices in the face from competitors Lidl and Mercadona, saw net sales fall nearly 11 per cent to €7.3 billion.

The results were much worse than the expected €4-million-loss expected by analysts surveyed by data provider Factset. Dia’s shares slumped 2.2 per cent in morning trading in Madrid while the overall market was off 0.5 per cent overall.

Dia said the job cuts would be negotiated with trade unions.

Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s LetterOne investment fund, which became Dia’s top shareholder in 2017 with a 29-per cent stake, launched a public share offer to take over the company on Tuesday given its “serious financial difficulties”.

The company’s shares have lost nearly 90 per cent of their value since the beginning of 2018 and have lost their place on the Madrid exchange’s main Ibex 35 index.

Management problems have also plagued the firm. In December, it named its third chief executive in less than six months. — AFP

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