Casino's Big C Vietnam stores said to draw Lotte, TCC bids

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Big C. Photo: Diep Duc Minh Big C. Photo: Diep Duc Minh

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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.

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