MiniStop Korea future uncertain as profits dive

The future ownership of South Korea’s fourth-largest convenience store chain, MiniStop Korea, is uncertain with options under review.

Parent Aeon Group of Japan is apparently tiring of falling profits from the chain and has appointed Nomura Securities to explore sale options, including a clean sale of its stake or attracting a strategic investor.

With more than 2500 stores spread across South Korea, MiniStop’s sales reached 1.18 trillion won (US$1 billion) last year.

In a statement issued this week, Aeon said: “Even though we are considering business tie-ups with other companies to improve corporate value, there are no concrete plans on selling off MiniStop Korea yet.”

Aeon currently owns 76.06 per cent of MiniStop Korea with local Daesang Group holding 20 per cent and Japan’s Mitsubishi the remaining 3.94 per cent.  

Intense local competition is behind the decline in MiniStop Korea’s profitability, according to local industry sources. Profit plunged 23 per cent last year to 2.6 billion won (US$2.3 million). In 2015 the company achieved an operating profit of 13.2 billion won.


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