CJ Express weighs B18-billion IPO

CJ Express weighs B18-billion IPO

Retail chain considers tapping into surprisingly resilient appetite for new share offerings in Thailand

CJ Express operates more than 900 branches of supermarkets, such as this one in Ratchaburi, convenience stores and other formats in 40 provinces.
CJ Express operates more than 900 branches of supermarkets, such as this one in Ratchaburi, convenience stores and other formats in 40 provinces.

CJ Express Group Co, the retail chain founded by the energy drink tycoon Sathien Setthasit, is considering an initial public offering to raise at least 18 billion baht, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company, whose biggest shareholder is also the chief executive of Carabao Group Plc, is working with advisers on an offering that could take place as soon as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The offering could raise between 18 billion and 28 billion baht, one of the people said. 

Discussions are ongoing and details of the potential offering such as size and timing could change, the people said. A representative for CJ Express did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

First-time share sales on the Stock Exchange of Thailand have proved relatively resilient amid a global slowdown in capital raising, with firms raising nearly $4 billion so far this year, similar to the same period in 2021, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Global IPO volumes have fallen nearly 70% year-on-year, due to factors including rising rates and geopolitical tensions.

Shares of the pet food maker I-Tail Corp, a spin-off of the multinational seafood producer Thai Union Plc, are scheduled to start trading on Dec 9 after it raised some 21 billion baht. That is the country’s second-largest IPO this year, after the June listing by Thai Life Insurance Plc raised about 37 billion baht.

CJ Express was established in 2005 and operates supermarkets as well as other retail outlets. As of Nov 30, the company had about 900 branches in 40 provinces, and plans to expand to the other 37 provinces. The company said earlier this year that it aims to have 2,000 branches by the end of 2026.

The hypermarket and convenience store operator Big C Supercenter Plc, which was delisted in 2017 after being acquired by Berlin Jucker Plc, is also considering going public next year through an offering that could raise at least 18 billion baht, Bloomberg News has reported.

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