Big C to weigh US$500m Thai IPO

Big C Supercenter, which runs supermarkets and convenience stores in South-east Asia, is considering going public again in Bangkok through an initial public offering that could raise more than US$500 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Bangkok-based company is sounding out investment banks for proposals for the share sale, which could happen as soon as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Discussions are ongoing and details of the potential offering such as fundraising size and timing could still change, the people said. An investor relations representative for Berli Jucker, the owner of Big C, said they have no information on the IPO plans so far.

Big C was founded by Thailand's Central Group in 1993 and opened its first store on Chaengwattana Road. The company raised about US$112 million in a Thai IPO in 2012.

TCC Holding, controlled by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, in 2016 agreed to purchase a 58.6 per cent stake in Big C for 3.1 billion euros (S$4.34 billion) from French retailer Casino Guichard Perrachon. Big C was delisted in 2017 after Berli Jucker, a subsidiary of TCC, took it private.

Big C operates 1,792 stores including convenience stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, according to its latest presentation. The company earlier this year acquired 18 Kiwi Mart stores in Cambodia and plans to rebrand them into Big C Mini stores. BLOOMBERG

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