Suitors line up for Big C partnership

15:53 | 20/04/2016
French retailer Casino Group, will continue its export activities in Vietnam despite keeping off its roots in the retail sector while attracting both foreign and domestic interest as it moves forward with the selection of a new partner.

Jacques Fourvel, an advisor to Casino Group’s president, last week was quoted by the Voice of Vietnam (VOV), saying that “after the sale of Big C’s retail chain, we shall keep exporting an array of goods and stay in a close relationship with our Vietnamese suppliers.”

He added that during its almost two decades trading in Vietnam, Casino has made an effort to develop a modern distribution system and has supported Vietnamese exports via its Big C outlets, especially agricultural products such as lychees, mangoes, and pineapples.

Casino, which is the majority shareholder in Big C supermarkets, now has 33 stores nationwide, making it one of the top retailers in the country. More than 90 per cent of items on its shelves are made in Vietnam.

Fourvel revealed that every year, Big C exports more than 1,100 containers of goods from 800 Vietnamese brands to 20 countries in its system to Asia, Europe and Latin America.

The race for the retail chain includes Korea’s Lotte, Thailand’s Berli Jucker, as well as Central Group and Dairy Farm from Singapore. Vietnamese potential buyers Co.opmart and Masan Group are also in the running.

However, Jacques Fourvel has denied a report in the media that Japan’s Aeon was in the list of suitors.

Discussing the selection criteria, Fourvel said that the deal was not only dependant on price, the success of the deal would also depend on how effectively Big C could merge with the operations and financial capability of tenders.

“For our part, we do not want to sell Big C to a partner who can’t afford to move Big C Vietnam forward,” said Fourvel.

First round bids for the Vietnam outfit were due on March 10. Final, fully financed offers are due around mid-April before a decision is made.

By By Phuong Thu

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