Metro AG agreed to sell 19 Vietnamese stores to a Thai group named Berli Jucker (BJC) for USD879 million as the German retailer prepares to withdraw from the country.
Olaf Koch, CEO of Metro AG, said that the two groups have signed a deal for the transfer which is scheduled to be complete in 2015.
According to the Bangkok Post, the move is aimed at strengthening BJC’s operations in the ASEAN region. The Thai firm expressed an interest in Metro’s operations in Vietnam last year, but the company had no interest in leaving the Vietnamese market at that time.
Metro decided to sell its Vietnamese stores to BJC after taking large losses for many years, many say as a result of their strategy of focusing on wholesale. During the 12 years of operating in Vietnam, Metro always has reported losses, except for 2010, when they made a profit of VND116 billion (USD55.23 million).
Currently, Metro and Big C, owned by a French firm, are the two largest retail distributors in Vietnam. Metro has 19 stores with 3,600 staff members in Vietnam. In the 2012-2013 period, Metro took in USD692 million in Vietnam.
Metro has a presence in 28 countries across Europe and Asia, with around 750 shopping malls, mostly concentrating on wholesale. Its global revenues are estimated at USD88.5 billion per year, standing among the largest wholesalers in the world.
Berli Jucker Group, owned by Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont, has distributed medical products for more than 40 years including pharmaceuticals, healthcare products, medical imaging equipment, medical and other supplies.