CP vies for Metro’s Indian wholesale unit

CP vies for Metro’s Indian wholesale unit

Charoen Pokphand Group Co and Reliance Industries Ltd are among suitors for German retailer Metro AG’s wholesale operations in India, according to people familiar with the matter, as the companies seek to deepen their retail portfolio in one of the world’s largest consumer markets.

The Thai conglomerate controlled by tycoon Dhanin Chearavanont and its Indian counterpart backed by billionaire Mukesh Ambani have submitted non-binding bids, the people said. Amazon.com Inc., whose founder Jeff Bezos is the world’s second richest man, is also considering lodging an offer, the people said.

Metro has been working with advisers on a potential sale of the Indian business, which could fetch a valuation of $1 billion to $1.2 billion, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Suitors could be shortlisted for the next round for bidding as soon as August, the person said.

Deliberations are ongoing and companies could decide against any offers, the people said. Metro hasn’t made any final decision and details could still change, they added. Representatives for Amazon, Metro and Reliance declined to comment, while CP Group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Metro entered the Indian market in 2003 and currently operates 31 wholesale distribution centres across the country, serving business customers only, according to its website. Its core customers include hotels, restaurants as well as different types of corporates such as small retailers.

Shares of Amazon fell 3.3% in the US on Monday, while Reliance slipped about 0.6% in early Tuesday trading in Mumbai.

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