Categories: Business

From layoffs to investments: the impacts of the Americanas crisis on the economy

From layoffs to investments: the impacts of the Americanas crisis on the economy

Americanas is one of the largest – and oldest – retailers in the country. Since its announcement to the market on January 11 about “accounting inconsistencies” of BRL 20 billion, there have been many developments involving the company, including a request for judicial recovery.

After the Justice accepted Americanas’ request for judicial recovery last Thursday (19), the CNN heard from economists who evaluated the impacts that this process could have, whether on the financial market or on the economy, since it is a company that earned BRL 5.4 billion in 2022, with more than 40,000 employees – which may reach 100 thousand jobs if we consider the indirect ones -, with thousands of stores spread across the country, one of the largest online marketplaces and a record of 50 million consumers.

The retailer released, on the morning of Wednesday (25), the list of 7,720 official creditors, as requested by the Justice of Rio de Janeiro when accepting the recovery request. The number is well below the 16,000 that the company itself estimated. In all, the company’s debt is R$ 41.2 billion.

Of the total amount that Americanas owes, R$64.8 million refer to the labor class, while R$41 million to the unsecured class and R$109.4 million to the micro and small business class.

Upon accepting the request for judicial reorganization, judge Paulo Assed Estefan claimed that it was “one of the largest and most relevant judicial reorganizations filed so far in the country, not only due to its liabilities, but due to all the market repercussions that the crisis situation of the applicants has been causing and, for all the social aspect involved, given the large number of creditors, direct and indirect employees dependent on the business activity now protected, as well as the relevant volume of wealth and taxes generated.”

According to the judge, the eventual bankruptcy of Grupo Americanas could lead to the “collapse of the production chain in Brazil, with losses in relevant economic sectors, affecting more than 50 million consumers, putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk”.

In its request to the Court, Americanas also highlighted that it pays, annually, about R$ 2 billion in taxes and has 150 thousand shareholders.

Given this scenario, Bruno Imaizumi, economist at LCA Consultores, highlights the jobs that may be closed. “The history of companies that entered into judicial recovery is that, in order to contain expenses and pay off debts, they had to cut staff and fire interns who were starting to work. “But, everything will depend on whether the judicial reorganization will actually avoid bankruptcy”, he says.

In Imaizumi’s opinion, the company will have to make cost cuts and much of it will probably be through the dismissal of employees. “The dismissals can be of all kinds, from assistants and salespeople in physical stores, to more technical positions such as analysts, managers and directors”.

The partner at Matriz Capital, Elcio Cardozo, adds that, in addition to layoffs, thousands of suppliers may not be paid and investors will suffer losses, which may result in more indirect layoffs.

Among the suppliers, diapers, shampoo, chocolate and gummy candies in the shape of dentures that cost a few reais add up to a millionaire debt for the company. Among the big brands, one of the debts that draws the most attention is with the South Korean Samsung, which has R$ 1.2 billion to receive from Americanas. Americanas default risk even affects the company with the highest market value in the world, Apple.

Imaizume also warns that, if creditors ask for advance payment of debts, interest, etc., the dismissal process may begin in a short period. “I imagine that less essential areas of the company will be the first to suffer cuts. The sectors of social networks, marketing, in short, historically, are the first to run out of funds”, he points out.

Experts also point out that the network can reduce the number of physical points, and thus, once again with indirect consequences for landlords and employees.


Although the request made by the Americanas was already expected, Cardozo said that part of the market still expected some intervention from the company’s reference group of shareholders, 3G Capital — formed by Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira — to avoid this movement .

According to Cardozo, this situation has a strong impact not only on the financial market, but on the country’s economy as a whole. “Just as an example, the shares of Ambev, also part of the group, fell 8% since last Thursday, despite having already recovered a good part of the fall”, he considers.

Ambev, by the way, is on the retailer’s list of creditors, with a balance of more than R$ 4 million.

Other companies in the sector can benefit from this movement. Cardozo points out that many investors who want exposure to retail companies should rotate the sector, leaving Lojas Americanas and buying shares in other companies.

“On the other hand, this situation creates insecurity for many investors. Historically, the retail sector has already gone through other bankruptcies and, without a doubt, this generates fear for those who want to invest”, emphasizes the economist.


In the view of Ricardo Brasil, founder of Gava Investimentos and specialist in financial analysis, when paper ceases to be part of the index, there are several funds, all over the world, that replicate the Ibovespa index. So, if this fund had Americanas, when it ceases to be part of it, this fund has to sell. But, “with several funds selling, we have a selling pressure that makes the paper fall.”

“We have funds that need to comply with rules. It may have a fund, mainly abroad, in which the manager can only invest in companies that have an x ​​rating. So, with Americanas losing its rating, this fund would also have to dispose of the securities and not buy shares either”, explains the spokesperson for Gava Investimentos.

Just as there are rules for ratings, there are also rules for funds. Brasil cites that there are funds that, as a rule, only invest in shares that are part of the Ibovespa index. “So, we started having several restrictions on funds, on management. Several funds that replicate indices will need to sell positions. Depending on the rules of the funds, it may be forbidden to combine Americanas shares”.

However, Brasil points out that the immediate consequence would be liquidity, as the value traded per day tends to drop significantly. “Once this crisis phase is over, in which many speculators buy and sell, we will have the company with much lower volume per day. When the stock is worth little, every penny makes a difference. This is not healthy for the market”, he concludes.

Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) questioned publicly traded companies about how they have been dealing with “withdrawal risk” operations, after the discovery of Americanas’ billionaire hole with this type of maneuver. Nine companies from the retail and wholesale sector were consulted, as CNN .

In a note, the CVM said that “whenever necessary, it interacts with capital market participants in order to request important information for analysis and supervision work”.

“In this sense, the Superintendence of Corporate Relations (SEP) of the CVM sent a consultation to publicly-held companies regarding the subject matter of their questioning”, declared the autarchy.

“Withdrawal risk” or “forfait” is the name given to a practice in which the bank makes a loan to the company that made purchases from suppliers, with the aim of facilitating the negotiation. As a result, the company’s debt is now with the financial institution and no longer with the supplier. According to Roberto Kanter, economist and professor at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), the transaction is not uncommon among retail chains.

Source: CNN Brasil