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Lotte Vietnam boosts investment

South Korea’s Lotte has acquired a majority share in a Ho Chi Minh City shopping centre, office and apartment complex as it protects its Vietnam beachhead.

Lotte Vietnam has bought out another Korean business’ 70 per cent stake in Diamond Plaza, a high profile 20-story tower housing a multi-level department store, foodcourt and other retail facilities, along with offices, a medical centre, cinema and apartments.

It was one of the first modern era shopping developments in the country’s largest city, although its footprint is dwarfed by more recent developments such as Vincom and Union Square, also in the CBD, and Crescent Mall in the Asian-expatriate hub of District 7.

Lotte already has extensive investments, and reach, in Vietnam, operating Lotte Mart hypermarkets, cinemas, a hotel on the Saigon riverfront and a chain of Lotteria fast food outlets which was well established before US rival McDonald’s debuted in Vietnam in late 2013.

Diamond Plaza was opened in August 2000, then valued at US$60 million. It was a joint venture between local developer Construction Corporation No.1 and Korean steel company Posec, a subsidiary of steel maker Posco. Lotte has bought out Posec’s interest for an undisclosed amount.

In another transaction not officially released, Lotte has purchased two Pico Plaza branded shopping centres in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and rebranded them Lotte after converting supermarkets into Lotte Mart hypermarkets.

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