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Thang Long GTC offers to buy Casino’s stake in Big C Thang Long

6 April 2016
Vietnam Investment Review

Thang Long GTC Joint Stock Company, the Vietnamese partner in Big C Thang Long International Trade and Supermarket Service Company Limited, has just offered to buy the 65 per cent stake that Vindemia SAS, a Groupe Casino subsidiary, is holding in the joint venture.

Thang Long GTC currently holds the remaining 35 per cent share of the company and has been doing so since the company was established in 1998. The company now owns five Big C supermarkets in Hanoi.

Thang Long GTC did not disclose the price it offered. It is expected that Groupe Casino will officially answer by the end of April.

According to the company’s press release, the development of retail supermarkets like Big C in Vietnam has huge potential as Vietnam is a growing consumer market of more than 90 million people and has a relatively young population.

“Given the current strengths and future market potential this business will rapidly expand and develop a larger, stronger chain of supermarkets in all major conurbations and in all major cities throughout Vietnam such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang and Haiphong,” said the release.

Assets of Groupe Casino in Vietnam include 32 hypermarkets and 10 convenience stores and 29 commercial galleries. The company also runs ecommerce site cdiscount.vn

At end-2015 Groupe Casino announced the sale of its stake in Big C Vietnam. The value of the stake is estimated at more than $1 billion. Masan and Saigon Co.op and an unknown company are three Vietnamese names participating in the bid to buy the stake. Besides them, foreign retailers namely Japan’s Aeon, South Korea’s Lotte and Thailand’s TCC Group and Central Group were also in line. 

Big C is among the biggest retailers in Vietnam. It leads among foreign retailers and ranks only behind Saigon Co.opmart in terms of number of sales points. According to Groupe Casino’s financial results posted on its website, the disposals of businesses in Thailand and Vietnam “mostly took place after growth intensification phases resulting in maximisation of asset value.” 

In the first half of 2015, the Vietnamese operation brought Groupe Casino €312 million ($354 million) in sales, up 26.4 per cent on year and higher than the group’s growth in Asia of 22.6 per cent. The figure amounted to 1.3 per cent of the group’s consolidated net sales in the period.
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