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Lotte Indonesia tipped to buy malls

Korea’s Lotte Group is reportedly planning to buy several shopping malls in Indonesia to broaden its operations in the fast-growing Southeast Asian economy.

A Lotte spokesman has effectively confirmed discussions but told media in Korea that “nothing has been decided yet”.

According to news reports, Lotte Indonesia engaged Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers to buy a building in Jakarta’s south. The tower, on a 48,000 sqm site, includes a seven story high end shopping mall, office tower and a hotel currently operated under the Sofitel brand. (Lotte has its own hotel network under the Lotte brand).

According to the reports, the acquisition is one of several involving shopping malls in Indonesia which is currently under negotiation.

Lotte, which is also making significant investments in hotels, retailing and fast food in Vietnam, entered Indonesia in 2008. It now has 39 Lotte Mart grocery hypermarkets there, a department store, 33 Lotteria burger restaurants and, in Jakarta, a duty free store.

Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin is leading an aggressive international expansion program, investing US$6.7 billion in retailing, hotels and construction. It recently acquired a hotel in Manhattan.

“We should not hold back on investments to seek growth despite the worsening business environment,” he said back in February.

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