Central Group readies IPO for retail division
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Central Group readies IPO for retail division

Central Retail Corporation Plc, the retail arm of Central Group, the country's biggest mall operator, is offering a combined 2.23 billion shares, 1.62 billion of which will be new ordinary shares, as part of an initial public offering (IPO).

According to the company's filings submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday, 1.62 billion IPO shares will be offered by Central Retail Corporation to the public, cornerstone investors, company executives and management and/or the company's employees, as well as to related persons and via share swaps with Robinson Plc, another SET-listed retail unit of Central Group.

The remaining 611.714 million shares will be existing ordinary shares offered to the public by Hawthorn Resources Ltd, Central Retail's existing shareholder.

Yol Phokasub, chief executive of Central Retail Corporation, said in July that the company had been preparing for three years to list itself on the stock market, be it through restructuring to fit with SET regulations, strengthening its core business or creating a new platform.

The company will bring Robinson and its operations in Vietnam and Italy under Central Retail Corporation for the listing.

As part of the share sale, Central will de-list Robinson Plc, in which Central holds a majority stake.

Bualuang Securities and Phatra Asset Management are the company's financial advisers.

"Becoming a listed company will help increase the confidence [of investors] and make it easier for the company to negotiate future international partnerships, attract new talent and sources of capital," Mr Yol said. "Partnerships and collaboration are significant. We can't be alone amid the rapidly changing retail landscape."

Central Retail Corporation reported revenue of 240 billion baht in 2018. Of the total, 77% was from the domestic market, 14% from Vietnam and 9% from Italy.

As of March 31, 2019 the company had 1,979 stores in 51 provinces in Thailand with sales space of 2,945,811 square metres. It has 134 stores in Italy under the Rinascente brand and in Vietnam under the Go, Lanchi and Nguyenkim brands.

Central Retail operates in multiple categories from fashion to food.

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