Big C postpones share sale

Big C postpones share sale

Retailer cites market conditions in delaying planned return to Stock Exchange of Thailand

(Photo: Bloomberg News)
(Photo: Bloomberg News)

The supermarket and convenience store operator Big C Retail Corp has postponed its planned initial public offering and return to on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, citing market conditions.

The company delayed the share listing after management considered the interests of shareholders and other stakeholders, Big C chief executive officer Aswin Techajareonvikul said in a statement on Tuesday.

Big C was seeking to raise about 35 billion baht in the share sale, Bloomberg News reported in January. The company will revive the share sale plan again as soon as capital market sentiment improves, Mr Aswin said.

The delay came a week after the CEO announced plans for a dual listing in Hong Kong and Bangkok as soon as the fourth quarter of this year. Hong Kong’s active trading volume and exposure to Chinese and global investors make the city an ideal location for Big C to list outside its home market, he told the South China Morning Post.

The retailer has acquired the AbouThai chain in Hong Kong and plans to rebrand the 24 locations as Big C stores.

Big C had sounded out investment bankers for proposals starting last November, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

The move by Big C is the second major IPO postponement this week, as the Thai economy has been affected by the long delay in new government formation as well as slower-than-expected growth.

Siam Cement Plc on Monday scrapped a proposed IPO for its chemicals unit, also citing unfavourable market conditions.

International funds have been net sellers of 131 billion baht worth of Thai shares so far this year, sending the SET Index down about 6%. Last year they were net buyers of 202 billion baht in shares, the first time since 2016 that their purchases exceeded sales.

Shares of Berli Jucker, the parent of Big C, closed 2.8% lower on the SET on Tuesday.

The planned offering by Big C was expected to be the biggest in the country since Thai Life Insurance Plc raised nearly 35 billion baht in July 2022.

Founded by Central Group in 1993, Big C was listed on the SET in 2012 and taken private in 2017 when it was acquired by the trading company Berli Jucker. The latter is among the companies controlled by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who has a net worth of $12.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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