X5 Retail Group, the largest retailer in Russia by sales, has refused to be drawn on local reports that it has struck a deal to buy Siberian peer Holiday Classik.

Reports have claimed that a share-backed deal has already been agreed with a formal announcement on the acquisition set for the summer.

Holiday’s owners will get up to 7% of the enlarged business, the reports have said.

However, X5 has stayed tight-lipped over the reports, insisting they were “gossip”.

“We are not commenting on this situation,” an X5 spokesperson told just-food today (24 April).

However, she added: “Our directors have said we are looking for variants in this market.”

Earlier this month, X5 posted an annual net loss of US$2.15bn after the group registered a goodwill impairment charge in the fourth-quarter.

EBITDA increased 47% during the 12-month period, rising to $803.2m, on sales which rose 45% to $8.89bn.

However, the bottom line was hit by a $2.26bn non-cash goodwill impairment charge related to the company’s 2006 merger of Perekrestok and Pyaterochka. X5 posted a net profit of $155m in 2007.