X5 Seeking Investors Amid Slowdown

X5 Retail is seeking investors to help fund construction of three shopping malls as a slowdown grips the building industry.

The food retailer plans to sell a majority holding in a unit that owns land for the mall sites on Moscow's outskirts and in the cities of Tolyatti and Samara, investor relations head Anna Kareva said Wednesday. The firm may keep a stake in the division and will build food stores in the malls, she said.

The grocer may have to spend as much as $1 billion to build the malls, Maria Kolbina, an analyst at VTB Group in Moscow, wrote Wednesday in a research report.

The company faces the outlay as the government seeks to help developers and reassure banks about construction loans.

"We do not think it will be able to conduct large-scale capital-intensive projects," Kolbina wrote of X5 in the report, citing the supermarket owner's debt.