Big C REIT will fund expansion

Big C REIT will fund expansion

The board of SET-listed Big C Supercenter Plc has announced plans to set up a real estate investment trust (REIT) next year.

Assets underlying the REIT are expected to comprise most of its 174 shopping centres in prime locations nationwide, covering 800,000 square metres of rental space.

Raising funds in this manner will further strengthen Big C's financial status, while proceeds will be used to expand retail operations.

The company declined to project how much would be mobilised from the REIT.

"This project will facilitate new developments in attractive markets and also create higher value for Big C shareholders," chief executive and president Robert Cissell said.

The board yesterday reviewed the 2016 investment budget and strategic priorities for moving Big C's business forward next year.

The company will spend 6-7 billion baht to open six hypermarkets, three Big C Markets and 75 Mini Big C outlets nationwide.

Seven major store renovations will also be completed in 2016 including branches in Lop Buri province and Samut Prakan's Bang Phli district, where work started in July.

The renovations are being made under the new Alcudia concept that optimises the allocation of retail and rental space, making the stores more attractive to shoppers and increasing rental revenue.

Mr Cissell said management this year had focused on expanding the Big C network, opening 108 stores including two hypermarkets.

Operations will be further improved upon completion of a multiyear supply chain overhaul.

In the challenging retail market, Big C expects to maintain its brand-price leadership in 2016, while the overhaul will improve store productivity and working capital efficiency, Mr Cissell added.

Big C posted a nine-month net profit of 4.76 billion baht on revenue of 99.1 billion.

Branches comprise 124 large-format stores (Big C Supercenter, Big C Extra and Big C Jumbo), 44 Big C Markets, 368 Mini Big Cs and 161 Pure drugstores.

BIGC shares closed yesterday on the SET at 190.50 baht, up 6.50 baht, in trade worth 135 million baht.

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