August 30, 2019 / 1:07 PM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's Lojas Americanas picks BR Distribuidora for convenience store partnership

(Adds context on partnership)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Brazil's Lojas Americanas SA has signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with fuel distributor Petrobras Distribuidora SA to study a partnership in the convenience store segment, the discount retailer said on Friday.

In a securities filing, Lojas Americanas said the discussions are in "preliminary stages," and no decisions have been made in terms of the partnership's structure or value, or the timeline of the negotiations.

In May, Reuters reported that BR Distribuidora, as the company is commonly known, had received five nonbinding proposals for the partnership.

In addition to BR, the firm received bids from restaurant operators International Meal Co Alimentacao SA and privately held Sapore. Mexican convenience store chain Oxxo, controlled by Femsa SAB de CV, and Sforza Holding, the family office of Brazilian billionaire Carlos Wizard Martins, also delivered bids.

BR Distribuidora has around 8,000 gas stations in Brazil, though only about 1,400 stores. The company is seeking a partnership in a bid to increase that number.

In July, BR, previously a unit of state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA, was privatized via a share offering.

One source with knowledge of the matter said the fuel distributor had been waiting for the nomination of a new board with independent members after the privatization to sign the agreement with the company that delivered the best proposal.

The new board was elected earlier this week. (Reporting by Gram Slattery and Tatiana Bautzer Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

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