Vietnam: Central Group takes over Big C ops from French Casino for $1.05b

Thai retailer Central Group and its Vietnamese partner, electronics retailing operator Nguyen Kim Group, on Friday announced their joint acquisition of Big C Vietnam for $1.05 billion from the French retailer Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA.

The transaction is in line with the Thailand-based Central Group’s strategy of long-term expansion in Vietnam. The group seems to have overcome its earlier hesitation about acquiring the Vietnam ops of French Casino Group ( It had reportedly observed that, “Vietnam’s processes are more complicated than Thailand’s”).

With this deal, Central Group is now at par with its Thai competitor TCC Holding, which has already acquired Big C Thailand for approximately $3.5 billion.

Casino Group has been planning to dispose its Vietnam and Thailand business to trim off its debts, as the European firm tried to deleverage over 2 billion euros to fix its financial problems.

Central Group purchased a major minority stake of 49 per cent in Nguyen Kim, the largest electronics retailer in Vietnam, in January 2015. The success of this partnership has resulted in the Big C Vietnam acquisition, Central Group Vietnam said in a statement.

Established in 2011, Central Group Vietnam is present across retailing of categories including, electronics, sporting, fashion and department stores.

It currently employs more than 6,600 local people and is operating around 100 stores, including 13 Lanchi supermarket outlets, following a deal in late 2015 that the group announced in a Friday release.

Founded in 1995, Lan Chi is a pioneer supermarket operator in the untapped rural areas within Vietnam.

“Ultimately, our success grew out of our determination and commitment to contribute to the prosperity of Vietnam and to improve the quality of life of the people – and we see in Big C as a partner that shares this commitment,” said Nguyen Van Kim, chairman of the Vietnamese electronic retailing company.

The joint investment in Big C Vietnam along with Nguyen Kim aligns with Central Group’s international strategy of working collaboratively with all local stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the Thai investor is still silent on the possibility of buying out fashion e-commerce site Zalora’s Vietnam business. It had earlier confirmed the purchase of Zalora’s Thailand  ops.

Central Group’s physical stores in Vietnam include 4 department stores, 27 sport stores, 30 fashion stores, 1 hotel, 21 electronics stores, 1 wholesale business and 13 supermarkets, along with an e-commerce platform, it said in the release.

The five major business units include Fashion Group, Nguyen Kim Electronics, Nguyen Kim E-commerce, Lan Chi Mart, and Centara Hotel & Resort Management.

Also read:

Thailand’s Berli Jucker makes open offer for remaining shares of BIG C

Thailand’s TCC secures $3.6b loan to fund Big C acquisition

French Casino Group to dispose off its Big C supermarket chain in Vietnam

 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.