Casino seeks 2nd-round bids for Vietnam unit

An employee stocks the shelves with fresh peppers in the produce section of a Whole Foods Market Inc. store in Dublin, Ohio, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. Whole Foods Market Inc. posted fiscal fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts' estimates as the grocery-store chain slashed prices to win over bargain-hunting shoppers. The shares soared the most in four years. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg


French retailer Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA plans to soon seek second-round bids for its Big C grocery chain in Vietnam, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Casino aims to ask for binding offers in the coming weeks, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Japan’s Aeon Co. was among several parties that submitted first-round bids, the people said. Some offers valued the business at more than $800 million, they said.
Casino is selling assets in Asia and Latin America to cut debt, while focusing on price and convenience stores in its largest market, France, as it competes for growth amid weak consumer spending.
A deal would follow Casino’s agreement last month to sell control of Thai supermarket chain Big C Supercenter Pcl to billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s TCC Holding Co. for 3.1 billion euros ($3.4 billion).
Other suitors who had submitted bids for Casino’s Vietnam unit include South Korea’s Lotte Group, as well as Thailand’s Central Group and TCC, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.
A spokeswoman for Casino didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. A spokesman for Aeon declined to comment on the deliberations.
Rising retail sales and booming foreign investment are helping the Vietnamese economy expand. Achieving the government’s growth forecast of about 6.7 percent this year would make the Southeast Asian nation one of the fastest- growing markets in the world.
Groupe Casino or Casino Guichard-Perrachon is a French mass retailer with operations around the world. The company is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris stock exchange and its majority shareholder is Rallye SA. The company’s head office is in Saint-Étienne.
The Group focuses on countries that offer high potential for growth and in which the Group’s subsidiaries have a strong local presence. Based on these criteria, Group currently concentrates on South America and Asia.
International expansion is focused on countries that offer strong potential for profitable growth and in which the Group’s subsidiaries have a solid local presence. Based on these criteria, the priority growth regions are currently South America and Southeast Asia.
In 2013, emerging markets accounted for 60 percent of consolidated net sales (against 56 percent in 2012), and 74 percent of consolidated trading profit (or €2,363 million). Groupe Casino is number one retailer in Brazil and Colombia. Casino currently focuses on expanding its multi-format portfolio in the convenience and discount segments. With its 6,500 convenience stores, Casino leads this segment in France.

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