Thailand's Central declares $89.6 mln tax on Big C Vietnam deal: report

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That is lower than local tax authority's previous estimate of $159 million

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Thai retail giant Central Group has declared around VND2 trillion (US$89.6 million) in tax on its acquisition of Vietnam's biggest foreign-owned supermarket chain Big C, local media reported. 
Big C Vietnam, which declared the tax on behalf of its new owner, has paid VND380 billion ($17.03 million) of the amount, Tuoi Tre newspaper said on Monday, citing an unnamed source from the Ministry of Finance. The rest is expected to be collected later.
The source did not comment on why the sum was much lower than the official estimate of VND3.6 trillion ($159 million) by the ministry's General Department of Taxation.
In June the department sent letters to Central Group and France's Casino Group, the chain's former owner, demanding them to pay tax on the $1.04 billion deal and threatening to block the ownership transfer.
It reportedly said in the letters that the companies were far behind their tax obligation. According to the department, Vietnam's laws stipulate that businesses have 10 days to pay taxes on the sale of their holdings after their negotiation is completed. The Big C deal was made public on April 29.
At the end of last month, the tax authority reminded the companies of the tax again, saying they will be fined 0.05-0.07 percent per day for late payment.
Big C is the largest foreign-owned retail chain in Vietnam with 33 supermarkets and 11 convenience stores. Many big players such as Vietnam's largest retailer Co.op Mart, Japan's Aeon, Thailand's TCC and South Korea's Lotte were interested when Casino announced its sale plan at the end of last year.
Vietnamese electronics retailer Nguyen Kim, 49 percent owned by Central Group, also joined the Thai conglomerate in the acquisition of Big C. Their respective stakes have not been disclosed.

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