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Casino Group to sell Big C Vietnam

Released at: 11:06, 18/12/2015

Casino Group to sell Big C Vietnam

Move part of Group's plan to dispose of non-core assets.

by Thu Hoang

French retailer the Casino Group plans to sell Big C Vietnam as it seeks to strengthen its financial flexibility and focus on its growth strategy in key markets.

It announced on December 15 that it will strengthen its financial flexibility with a deleveraging plan in 2016 of more than €2 billion ($2.17 billion), mainly through real estate transactions and the disposal of non-core assets, which include Big C Vietnam.

A representative from Big C Vietnam confirmed the content of the announcement with VET on December 17, adding that the plan will not affect its current business and operations.

One of the plan’s components consists of externalizing the value of the Group’s real estate portfolio through the participation of investors in its real estate activities in Thailand and Colombia.

In Thailand Big C owns almost 800,000 sq m of gross leasable area (GLA) in its shopping malls located in prime areas around the country. In Colombia, Éxito’s real estate activities include more than 300,000 sq m of GLA, excluding hypermarkets.

These transactions will create value for shareholders and enable both companies to pursue development in their respective markets, where they already possess leading positions. Big C Thailand and Éxito will also continue to fully consolidate their real estate activities.

The sale of the Vietnam business could raise €750 million ($813.8 million) while setting up real estate investment trusts in Thailand and Colombia could net €550 million ($596.8 million) and €200 million ($216.98 million), respectively, according to Bloomberg, citing Mr. Bruno Monteyne, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.

In Vietnam since 1998, Big C has 32 outlets nationwide, including in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Can Tho, Dong Nai, and elsewhere.

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