Central Retail said to target B60bn IPO in 2020

Central Retail said to target B60bn IPO in 2020

Central Group is said to be targeting an initial public offering next year. (Bangkok Post photo)
Central Group is said to be targeting an initial public offering next year. (Bangkok Post photo)

Central Group, one of Thailand’s biggest conglomerates, is targeting an initial public offering of its retail arm as soon as the first quarter of next year which could raise around 61 billion baht, according to people familiar with the matter.

The IPO plan was pushed back from the last quarter of 2019 to allow the group to complete a restructuring involving Bangkok-based department store operator Robinson Plc ahead of the proposed listing, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.

At 61 billion baht, Central Retail Corp’s planned offering would be the second-largest in Thailand on record after BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund’s 64 billion baht listing in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Another upcoming billion-dollar-plus IPO would be from billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s property arm Asset World Corp, which is looking to raise as much as 48 billion baht  this year.

Central Group, which is controlled by the Chirathivat family, said in July it would consolidate its retail arm operations in Thailand, Vietnam and Italy under a single listed entity. It is conducting a tender offer for the 46% of Robinson stock it does not already own.

The closely-held conglomerate operates shopping malls under the Central and Central Embassy brands, as well as Zen men’s lifestyle stores and Supersports athletic equipment shops. Outside Thailand, it owns Italian department store La Rinascente, Danish retailer Illum, and it bought the Big C hypermarket chain in Vietnam in 2016.

Deliberations of the proposed listing are ongoing and details, including timing and size, could still change, the people said. A representative for Central Group declined to comment.

Companies have raised 22 billion baht via first-time share sales in Thailand so far this year, up from 12.5 billion a year ago, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A single deal, however, can move the needle dramatically. Thailand Future Fund‘s 42.2 billion baht offering last September took the total funds raised in the country to 84.5 billion baht in 2018.

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