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Casino to sell off Big C retail operations in Vietnam and Thailand

Casino to sell off Big C retail operations in Vietnam and Thailand, Groupe Casino, Big C, Berli Jucker, Central Group
VIETNAM/THAILAND –
French retailer Groupe Casino has announced plans to offload its supermarket chain Big C in Vietnam to cut debt, while it also considers an unsolicited offer to sell its Thai operation.

In mid-December 2015, Groupe Casino revealed that it is looking to sell off its Vietnam business. According to a 15 December memo seen by local news agency Tuoi Tre News, the retailer is expected to enact a deleveraging plan of more than two billion euros (US$2.2 billion), mainly through real estate transactions and disposal of non-core assets in 2016.

The disposals of non-core assets include in particular the project to sell the group’s operations in Vietnam, consisting of 32 Big C outlets – with eight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Analysts estimate that selling the Vietnam operations could raise about EUR650 million.

Big C Thailand
Meanwhile, in mid-January 2016, Groupe Casino released a statement about possible plans to also sell off Big C Thailand.

It is still unclear whether Groupe Casino has found a buyer for its Vietnam operations, or who the party interested in the Thai business is. Analysts speculate though that it appears quite likely that both businesses will be acquired by the same buyer.

Names thrown up in the speculation include Thailand’s Central Group – Big C was originally started by Central before it was taken over by Groupe Casino – and Berli Jucker (BJC).

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