Shop-goers pick goods in a Big C Vietnam outlet. (Photo: www.citypassguide.com)
French grocer Casino Group has just initiated the process to sell its retail chain Big C Vietnam, denying reports that the group had finished transferring to Thailand's TCC Holding, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper cited a Big C Vietnam representative as saying.
The group is still seeking for a suitable partner for its Vietnam operations, the representative added.
Since Casino Group announced last December that it was seeking new owners for its assets in some countries as part of a deleveraging plan, the group has just agreed to unload its 58.6% stake in Big C Thailand to TCC Holding for $3.5 billion, according to this source.
The sale of the Thai retail chain will help Casino Group reduce its debt by EUR3.3 billion ($3.7 billion) and will be completed by March 31, the French retailer said in a statement.
Besides Central Group, Thailand’s biggest retailer, Singapore’s Dairy Farm International Holdings and South Korea’s Lotte Shopping have vied for Casino Group’s Big C Vietnam, which is valued between $800 million and $1 billion, according to Reuters.
A separate banking source said Casino Group was keen to sell both units to the same bidder.
TCC Holding last month finished the acquisition of Metro AG’s Cash & Carry wholesale business in Vietnam for EUR655 million ($735 million).
If TCC Holding acquires Big C Vietnam, the Thai group will surpass Saigon Co.op to become the largest retailer in Vietnam, according to the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper.