French retailer Casino Group to sell Big C chain in Vietnam to cut debt

Thanh Nien News

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A busy Big C outlet in southern Vietnam. Photo credit: Zing A busy Big C outlet in southern Vietnam. Photo credit: Zing


French mass retailer Casino Group has announced plans to sell its operations in Vietnam, including the large supermarket chain Big C, in an attempt cut debt and focus on core markets.
In a statement Tuesday, Casino Group announced it plans to improve its financial structure in 2016 by selling real estate and dispose of non-core assets. The deleveraging is expected to decrease the company’s debt by about €2 billion (US$2.17 billion).
“The disposals of non-core assets include in particular the project to sell the Group’s operations in Vietnam,” the statement said.
As owner of 32 outlets of the popular Big C supermarket chain across the country, Casino Group is one of the top retailers in Vietnam.
A sale of its Vietnam business could raise €750 million ($814 million), Bruno Monteyne, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, told Bloomberg news.
The company also has plans to set up real estate investment trusts in Thailand and Colombia, which Monteyne estimates could net €550 million and €200 million, respectively.
In the statement, Casino Group said it will continue to focus on its key markets in France, Latin America and Asia.
A representative of Big C Vietnam said it has not yet been informed of any takeover.

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