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Citigroup completes €40m Lithuanian deal

The €40 million investment in Lithuanian food retailer Palink is one of the largest private equity deals yet seen in the Baltic region.

Citigroup Venture Capital International has acquired a stake in Lithuanian food retailer Palink in a deal worth €40 million ($54 million).
 
The size of the holding has not been disclosed, but was described in a press release as a 'significant minority stake'.
 
Palink is Lithuania's second-largest food retail group, operating the 66-store IKI supermarket chain, 14 Ikiukas convenience stores and 51 Pigiau Grybo discount stores.

Founded in 1991 by the Ortiz brothers, it is now the fourth-largest company in Lithuania in terms of sales, and seventh in the Baltic region overall, according the country’s daily business newspaper Verslo Zinios. It commands a 17 percent share of the Lithuanian food retail market, and eight percent of the Baltic market overall.

According to a press release, the company will use the proceeds of the deal, which is subject to European Commission approval, to expand its operations in Lithuania, and into neighbouring Latvia.
 
This is an unusually large private equity deal for the Baltic region. Other deal activity this year included Stockholm-based East Capital's €5 million investment in Baltic Cosmetic Holding, a holding company for cosmetics and beauty services companies in Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. 
 
Citigroup Venture Capital is part of Citigroup's Alternative Investments Unit, managing the group's private equity investments in developing markets. It operates three regional hubs in London, New York and Hong Kong, and also has offices in India, Taiwan and Chile.