Winn-Dixie parent files IPO
The parent company of the Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo supermarket chains filed plans Thursday morning for an initial public offering.
Under the name Southeastern Grocers Inc., the company’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said it intends to sell up to $500 million in stock in the IPO.
The IPO filing comes about a year and a half after privately owned Bi-Lo Holdings LLC acquired Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie Stores Inc.
After the merger, Greenville, S.C.-based Bi-Lo moved its headquarters to the Winn-Dixie offices in Jacksonville, which will remain the headquarters of Southeastern Grocers.
The IPO is not a surprise because Reuters news service reported last month that the company had already retained a group of investment banks to underwrite the public offering.
According to the filing, Southeastern Grocers is the sixth largest U.S. supermarket chain with 685 stores in eight Southeastern states that operate under the Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo banners.
The company also has agreements in place to buy 155 stores from the Delhaize Group and 21 Piggly Wiggly supermarkets
Southeastern Grocers will become the official name of the holding company but the stores will continue to operate under the Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo names, company spokesman Brian Wright said.
Wright said by email that the name “best exemplifies the direction of our business.”
He said the corporate name change will take place in the fourth quarter and it is not tied to the timing of the IPO.
The merged company has been strongly profitable in 2013, with $5.6 billion in sales and net income of $208 million in the first six months of the year, according to the filing. The earnings were helped by $56.1 million in tax benefit gains.
The company’s comparable store sales rose by 0.8 percent in the six-month period after increasing by 3.1 percent in 2012. Comparable stores – sales at stores open for more than one year – are a key indicator of a retailer’s performance.
Southeastern Grocers currently is owned by Dallas-based private equity firm Lone Star Funds. The IPO filing does not say how much of the company will be retained by Lone Star after the stock sale.
The company intends to list its stock under the ticker symbol “SEG” after the IPO.