Casino’s Big C Vietnam stores all set to draw Lotte, TCC bids

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


South Korea’s Lotte Group is among suitors that submitted bids for French retailer Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA’s Vietnam grocery business, which could fetch as much as $800 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s TCC Holding Co. and Central Group, controlled by Thailand’s Chirathivat family, also submitted first-round offers by the March 10 deadline, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
Casino is selling assets in Asia and Latin America to cut debt, while focusing on price and convenience in its largest market, France, as it competes for growth amid weak consumer spending. Any deal would follow Casino’s agreement last month to sell control of Thai supermarket chain Big C Supercenter Pcl to TCC Holding for 3.1 billion euros ($3.5 billion).
A representative for Casino didn’t immediately answer a phone call seeking comment. A spokesman for Lotte Group said in a mobile-phone text message it has interest in the company, as it’s running various businesses in Vietnam including distribution. A call to Charoen’s office in Bangkok went unanswered Thursday outside regular business hours, while a representative for Central Group said she didn’t have information on the issue.

Rapid Growth
Rising retail sales and booming foreign direct investment are helping the Vietnamese economy expand at its fastest pace in almost a decade. Achieving the government’s growth forecast of 6.7 percent this year would make the Southeast Asian nation among the most rapidly growing markets in the world.
Lotte Group said last year that it plans to open 60 supermarkets in Vietnam by 2020. The South Korean retail giant also runs Lotteria fast-food chains, shopping malls, hotels and cinemas in the country.
TCC in January completed the purchase of Metro AG’s Cash & Carry wholesale business in Vietnam for 655 million euros.
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 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).

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