France’s Casino Group has yet to sell Big C Vietnam: representative

09:59 | 15/02/2016
French mass retailer Casino Group is only in the initial phase of transferring its supermarket chain in Vietnam, according to a Big C Vietnam representative.

The representative denied on Friday recent reports that Casino Group has finished selling Big C Vietnam to a new owner, adding that the group is still looking for a suitable partner for its business in the country.

Since its announcement on December 15, 2015 that Casino Group is seeking a new owner for its business activities in minor markets, the group has only agreed to pass on its controlling stake, which accounts for 58.6 percent, in Thai Big C to Thai Charoen Corporation Group (TCC), one of Thailand’s leading corporations, the representative toldTuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

The transaction, which was worth US$3.5 billion, was made during an auction on February 5 and is expected to be completed before the end of March, the representative added.

The decision to sell Big C Vietnam has been welcomed by several investors, including Singaporean retailer Dairy Farm International Holdings, South Korea’s Lotte Shopping, and Japanese retail corporate group AEON, according to a Reuters source.

Big C is among several major foreign retailers who took up an early presence in Vietnam and is a big competitor in the country’s retail sector.

There are now 32 Big C outlets across Vietnam, with eight in Ho Chi Minh City.

On December 15, Casino Group issued a memorandum stating that it may seek a new owner for its supermarket chain Big C in Vietnam, as the company plans to strengthen its financial flexibility by selling assets in the country, as well as Thailand and Colombia.

In multiple annual reports, the French retailer has assessed Vietnam as a market with high potential for growth in the future, once the economic slowdown is over and consumption begins to grow again.

However, given the minor contribution of Big C Vietnam and the small market size, especially compared to neighboring country Thailand, the chain is now on the priority list to change hands.


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