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.