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Martinelli fights to get his supermarket chain Super 99 out of legal problems

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Martinelli fights to get his supermarket chain out of legal problems

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 15:30


The powerful US firm Kroll restructured the supermarket chain 99, owned by former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), to recover access to the financial market and change its corporate image, reported sources linked to the operation for to Acan-Efe.

Kroll made all the shareholders that are part of the Board of Directors of Super 99 and Ricamar companies leave the corporate structure, so that it may have other executives to whom the financial system does not object the credit.

This is a consequence of all the judicial investigations for corruption that since 2014 have affected Martinelli and his children, brothers, close executives and even lawyers, which makes it difficult to administer the retail business, the largest in Panama with almost half a hundred of branches throughout the country.

"Those who are shareholders will continue to receive their dividends, but they will no longer be part of the decision-making structure," said one informant, although he assured that "the business is not for sale," as it was diffused today in the Panamanian capital.

The speculations are so many that the signature of the former president, imprisoned in the United States pending his extradition to Panama, prepares an "official statement" for next Wednesday about his situation, although some relatives have already come out to deny in social networks that the alleged transaction is a "fake news".

Kroll has not only reformed the financial structure of the chain, but also helped to revamp the corporate image, its projection in the community, both in traditional advertising and in digital media -now the 99 website is down- to improve its presence in Panamanian society, said the former Minister of Labor and lawyer close to Martinelli, Alma Cortés.

The lawyer told Acan-Efe that "I have not heard anything about a possible sale, but about the investment to improve its presence and corporate citizenship."

"After several years, the Panamanian firm BB & M returns to take over the advertising of the chain," said another source, who testified that "all the contracts it enters into from now on it is subject to a tender".

Kroll is ranked this year as the best Global Risk and Research Consultant, Best Cybersecurity Provider, Best Corporate Research Provider, Best Litigation Advisory Services Consultant and Best Managed IT (Information Technology) Service Provider.

This award was granted, for the second consecutive year, by the readers of the specialized magazine "Corporate Counsel".

The possible sale of 51 percent of the chain of supermarkets 99 aroused concern today in the business sector of Panama.

Acan-Efe received information from business circles about the "surprise" caused by this version, given that in the industry it is known that it is the most powerful chain in sales in the country.

The purchase of 51 percent of the shares is attributed to its similar Venezuelan Central Madeirense, also of national scope in the South American country.

In the branch of the exclusive Costa del Este, where a large part of the Venezuelan colony of high purchasing power is concentrated, the Súper 99 launched the campaign "Seamos Solidarios" addressed to them, which offered to sell the merchandise and send it directly to their relatives in Caracas, Valencia, Barquisimeto or Maracay, and used the slogan "Live More, Spend Less", from the Madeirense chain.

This could lead to sale conjecture, admitted the informant.

But another executive close to suppliers did not dismiss the operation because "it is a bad habit" in Panama that "even the collaborators" are not informed of a possible sale, he told Acan-Efe.

"It has already happened with the Supermercado El Rey chain, where a Colombian group acquired the majority and dismissed 700 people" and the same happened in the firm Ricardo Pérez, which represented the Japanese Toyota, "whose new owners of 71 percent of shares will enter On May 2 and until today collaborators of all levels unknow what will happen to them".

Luis Miguel Blanco



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