Comercial Mexicana said in January it had received approaches

Comercial Mexicana said in January it had received approaches

Jeronimo Martins has refused to be drawn on claims in Mexico the Portugal-based retailer has indicated interest in buying local grocer Controladora Comercial Mexicana.

The El Universal publication claimed Jeronimo Martins - which operates in Portugal, Poland and, most recently, Colombia - was among four potential suitors that had put forward proposals to buy Comercial Mexicana, which has 200 stores.

However, when contacted by just-food, a spokesperson for Jeronimo Martins would not react to the report. "We don't comment on market rumours," the spokesperson said.

El Universal said Mexican retailers Chedraui and Soriana were among the other interested parties to be eyeing Comercial Mexicana. 

In January, Comercial Mexicana said it was considering takeover approaches made by domestic and international suitors.

The retailer said it had received "approaches from foreign and domestic groups interested in a partnership or strategic sale". The company said it was "exploring" the approaches.

Comercial Mexicana is listed on the Mexican stock exchange but most of the business is owned by descendants of the company's founders.

Jeronimo Martins made its first foray outside Europe last year when it opened its first Ara store in Colombia.

When the outlet opened last March, Jeronimo Martins set a goal of opening 40 Ara stores by the end of 2013. The retailer also outlined targets of having 150 Ara outlets in Colombia by the end of 2015 and being one of the three largest retailers in the South American country. It set out plans to invest EUR100m (US$137.9m) in the country.

In November, Jeronimo Martins reduced its capital expenditure plans for Colombia to EUR50m.