Cencosud heiress makes major US acquisition
Article written by Régine Eveno on June 2, 2022
Barely appointed President of Cencosud on April 2022 to succeed her father, the billionaire Horst Paulmann, Heike Paulmann has spent US$676 million to buy 67% of the American company The Fresh Market (160 premium supermarkets, turnover of US$1.93 billion by 2021). In the same week, she invested US$100 million in Brazilian GIGA (10 cash-and-carry stores in Sao Paulo).
The leading Chilean retailer (turnover of US$15.2 billion in Q1 2022, of which US$7.2 billion coming from the rents of its 67 malls) thus makes inroads in the U.S.A.
For this 51-year-old heiress, who pays tribute to her father, an immigrant from Germany who became a “pioneer of retail in Latin America”, this is a major strategic step. She has already proven herself in the family business, which is still controlled at 53% by Horst Paulmann, aged 86. Together with her four sons, she founded the “Aventura Center” entertainment chain in 1993. A graduate of the University of Chile and holder of an MBA from the Adolfo Ibáñez University, she promises her shareholders to follow her father’s precepts: “Services, Services, Services”. Surrounded by her brother and former Cencosud employees, she has announced US$640 million in investments for 2022 to increase productivity and automation. To grow this omnichannel group, active in 5 sectors (supermarkets, department stores, malls, home furnishings and financial services), she has two strong assets: the group’s solid financial base and a land reserve of 5.5 billion sq.m.