Thai Central Group acquires VN’s Nguyen Kim

Thailand retailer Central Group has announced the acquisition of 49 per cent of NKT New Solution and Technology Development Investment JSC, through its unit Power Buy.

The Vietnamese company is the owner of the well-known electronics retailer Nguyen Kim.

“The CEO of Central Group Vietnam, Philippe Broianigo, will concurrently hold this position at Nguyen Kim,” Central Group Vietnam’s media representative told DEALSTREETASIA.

However, the value of the deal was not revealed.

Central Group Vietnam said this acquisition was the initial step for the group to expand its electronics retail business in Vietnam. Previously, Nguyen Kim also showed its desire to seek a foreign partner for the 2011-15 period.

Nguyen Kim was founded in 2001, as one of the first retailers in Vietnam. Currently it owns 21 stores in the country. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, the company achieved sales of more than VND8.4 trillion ($394.3 million) and a net profit of VND352 billion ($16.5 million).

NKT New Solution and Technology Development Investment JSC was established in October 2014 with a charter capital of VND800 billion ($37.5 million), the exact amount of Nguyen Kim’s capital.

In the mean time, Mobile World Group (MWG) , the biggest competitor of Nguyen Kim, is valued at $580 million, and its shares are being traded at 11 times of par value.

The Thai investor, Central Group, is managed by Thai tycoon family Chirathivat, having over 80 supermarket across Thailand. In Vietnam, it is also known with a series of ROBINS shopping malls in Hanoi and HCM City.

Recently, Thai groups have flocked into the Vietnamese retail market. Berli Jucker, belonging to Thailand’s third richest person Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, had purchased Family Mart chain and renamed to B’s Mart before proposing to acquire hypermarket METRO Vietnam.

However, shareholders of Berli Jucker reportedly disapproved the firm’s plan to take over METRO Vietnam. The reason was that they feared of financial risks due to additional terms of agreement, which stated that Berli Jucker would have to send a deed of guarantee worth 655 million euros to the seller prior to the receipt of amended investment certificate.

Meanwhile, the value of the acquisition already reached 655 million euros. Therefore, the Thai buyers would need up to 1.31 billion euros to complete the deal.

Related story: Axiata eyes stake in Vietnam’s MobiFone