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South Korea's Hotel Shilla weighs buying US duty free firm DFASS

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Hotel Shilla Co Ltd said on Tuesday it is interested in buying in-flight duty-free retailer DFASS Group, a deal that would give the fast-growing South Korean company a retail foothold in the US market.

[SEOUL] Hotel Shilla Co Ltd said on Tuesday it is interested in buying in-flight duty-free retailer DFASS Group, a deal that would give the fast-growing South Korean company a retail foothold in the US market.

South Korea, the world's biggest duty-free market, is seen by analysts as offering little room to grow due to the dominance of competitors Shilla and Lotte Duty Free and a government move to earmark new licences for smaller firms.

Hotel Shilla has been looking to expand overseas and last year set up shops in Macau and Singapore's Changi Airport. It has never acquired another duty-free operator.

The world's No.7 duty-free retailer by revenue saw shop revenue grow an annual 27.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014, mostly due to increased Chinese tourist traffic into South Korea.

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A Hotel Shilla spokesman said several other global duty-free operators were looking at a DFASS deal, and that Shilla had not decided whether to pursue a transaction.

Miami-based DFASS operates more than 25 duty-free shops in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean as well as in-flight duty-free services, according to its website.

DFASS could not immediately be reached for comment.

REUTERS

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