Vietnam’s Nguyen Kim electronics chain to sell more products after Thai deal

February 04, 2015 | 10:02
One of the largest electronics store chains in Vietnam will expand in the retail sector following a strategic partnership it entered last month with a Thai retail giant, which was only publicized on Monday.

Nguyen Kim and Thai retail conglomerate Central Group announced yesterday that the Thai side had bought a 49 percent stake in the Vietnamese company, but still refused to disclose the value of the deal.

The strategic cooperation took effect on January 9, and was only made public to Nguyen Kim’s suppliers, partners, and shareholders on Monday.

Central Group Vietnam CEO Philippe Broianigo has become the chief executive officer of Nguyen Kim, an appointment the Thai company said in a previous press release “will enable Nguyen Kim’s management to further enhance their electronic retailing expertise and competitiveness.”

Nguyen Kim’s chairman of the board of directors, Nguyen Van Kim, will retain his position.

The two sides also announced their five-year business plan, highlighted by the strategy to become the top consumer electronics retailer in Vietnam and the Southeast Asian region.

As one of the largest electronics chain store operators in Vietnam, Nguyen Kim currently has 20 stores countrywide. It has targeted to expand the network to 50 stores by 2019.

The plan also includes the establishment of Nguyen Kim trade centers and stores that sell products other than consumer electronics, and a 50 percent growth rate in online revenue compared to 2014.

But when the first such Nguyen Kim store will open remains undisclosed.

The investment of Central Group in Nguyen Kim was reported in mid-January, but the two sides had since refused to elaborate on details such as the model, value, and volume of the deal.

Central Group is majority owned by the Chirathivat family, which is Thailand’s second-richest, according to a 2013 ranking by Forbes Magazine.

Nguyen Kim has been valued at US$200 million, Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper said, quoting Forbes Vietnam as saying so in its January issue.

The Saigon Times Online quoted a securities consultancy as saying that Nguyen Kim sold its stake to a foreign investor because it wants to “increase market share and improve financial capability quickly,” not because it is suffering financial difficulties

The deal with Nguyen Kim marked a new sector for the Thai conglomerate to create a stronger presence in Vietnam, according toThe Saigon Times Online.

Central Group is already present in the Southeast Asian country through the SuperSports, Crocs and New Balance stores, and Robins fashion department stores in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The Thai retail giant has also brought British luxury clothing store Marks & Spencer to Vietnam.

The first M&S store was opened at Vincom Center Dong Khoi in Ho Chi Minh City and Central Group aims to expand the network to 20 stores nationwide.

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