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Berli Jucker emerges as true buyer of Big C


BERLI JUCKER’S buying spree has continued, with Big C Supercenter its latest target despite the latter’s much bigger asset size.

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According to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, at the end of 2015 Big C’s assets stood at Bt94.57 billion, 114 per cent higher than Berli Jucker assets of Bt44.19 billion as of the end of September.
Berli Jucker announced yesterday that it was the true buyer of Big C, not the TCC Group, which signed the deal to buy Big C Supercenter from French company the Casino Group. TCC holds a 60-per-cent stake in Berli Jucker.
In a filing with the SET, Berli Jucker said TCC was assigned to sign the deal on its behalf.
The announcement followed Berli Jucker’s takeover of Metro, a retail chain in Vietnam, last month.
In Thailand, it operates small convenience store chain B’smart. The chain has about 100 outlets, compared with about 700 stores operated by Big C, which include hypermarkets and smaller formats.
Berli Jucker said its board of directors had approved the acquisition of Big C.
The board called for an extraordinary shareholder meeting on March 21. Shareholders will be asked to approve a 12-month bridge loan worth as much as Bt220 billion.
Maybank Kim Eng Securities (Thailand) and JayDee Partners will be appointed the independent financial advisers for the deal.
Under the deal signed with Casino Group, TCC is committed to complete the acquisition of a 59-per-cent stake in Big C, valued at 3.1 billion euros (Bt124.5 billion), by the end of the month. It would need to pay Casino US$600 million (Bt21.3 billion) if the deal does not go through.
In the filing with the SET, Berli Jucker said the value of the deal was 472.15 per cent of its assets.
Berli Jucker’s share price dropped yesterday for the third straight day to close at Bt33.25, down 5 per cent.
On Monday, its share price rose 10.6 per cent after an unusually high number of transactions – 3.8 million compared with below 1 million previously since November 19, according to trading data. Yesterday, over 1 million shares were changed hands.

Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi controls TCC Group.
Aswin Techajareonvikul, president and chief executive officer of Berli Jucker, is Charoen’s son-in-law.
Berli Jucker owns some of Thailand’s most renowned consumer-product brands including Tasto potato chips, Dozo rice crackers, Activia yoghurt, Parrot soap, among others.

Published : February 13, 2016

By : THE NATION