Saigon Co.op enters next round of bid for Big C Vietnam
Diep Dung, chairman of Saigon Co.op, told the Daily on the phone on Friday night that Saigon Co.op was informed by Casino that it has passed the first round of the bidding.
However, Dung said he did not know how many bidders had gone through the first round.
International media reported that over 10 domestic and international enterprises entered the first round of bidding by the March 10 deadline. Besides Saigon Co.op, there are two other local bidders and Masan was one of them. Nonetheless, whether or not they were chosen for the next round is unknown.
The Wall Street Journal reported hours before Dung confirmed Saigon Co.op’s entry into the next round with the Daily that that Casino is reviewing the bids and would choose around five companies to conduct due diligence. These companies are required to show fully financed offers in around mid-April.
Big C assets in Vietnam were reportedy estimated at over US$1 billion.
Dung said Saigon Co.op is serious about acquiring Big C Vietnam, which has 33 supermarkets, ten convenience stores and e-commerce site Cdiscount.vn.
Experts said though Saigon Co.op and Masan are big players in Vietnam, there remains a big gap between them and foreign bidders like South Korea’s Lotte, Japan’s Aeon, and Thailand’s Central Group and TCC Holding in terms of corporate governance.
Vietnam is regarded as a potential retail market in Southeast Asia with 2014 revenue totaling around US$110 billion.
Casino is offering its assets in Asia and Latin America to reduce debts and focus on business operations in France. It sold Big C Thailand to TCC Holding at 3.1 billion euros last month. It said in January that it looks to mobilize four billion euros via selling operations in Colombia, Thailand and Vietnam.