Thailand's Central Group Unloads Stake in Big C to Finance Vietnam Deal

Tuan Minh

15:32 12/05/2016

BizLIVE - Central Group has agreed to sell out its stake in grocery chain Big C in Thailand to fund its purchase of Casino Group’s Vietnam business.

Thailand's Central Group Unloads Stake in Big C to Finance Vietnam Deal

A taxi driver waits for his customers next to the logo of Big C department store in central Bangkok. (Photo: Reuters)

Thai conglomerate Central Group has confirmed it has sold its remaining 25% stake in Big C Supercenter Pcl to TCC Group, aiming to finance the acquisition of a supermarket chain owned by Casino Group in Vietnam, according to media reports.  
Central Group, Thailand's biggest retailer led by tycoon Tos Chirathivat, is expected to book proceeds of at least 50 billion baht ($1.4 billion) from the sale, people with knowledge of the matter were quoted as saying.
The Nation cited an industry source as saying Central Group probably made this decision because of its ownership in Tops Supermarket and FamilyMart. Parts of their operations overlap Big C’s, he said, adding that hypermarkets are not Central's business focus for Thailand.
“Vietnam seems to be more interesting to Central, judging from the financial sums to be invested in Thailand and possible cannibalization of Tops and FamilyMart,” the source said.
The deal will allow TCC to strengthen its control of Big C Supercenter without worrying about interference from Central Group, which founded the Thai retail firm in 1993 before selling a majority stake to France's Casino six years later.
TCC's flagship retail unit Berli Jucker beat Central Group in the race to gain control of the Thai unit. But Central Group was the winner for the Vietnam unit, known as Big C Vietnam, after agreeing to pay 920 million euros ($1.1 billion).
TCC purchased the Vietnam chain of German retailer Metro Cash & Carry for 655 million euros last year.