Thailand’s Big C to enter Hong Kong, acquiring grocer AbouThai

(Source: AbouThai)

Thai supermarket giant Big C Supercenter has acquired grocery chain AbouThai as it moves to enter Hong Kong next month – and is eyeing a dual listing.

The South China Morning Post reports that the value of the acquisition has not yet been disclosed but a source said Big C will invest about HK$158 million (approximately US$20.2 million) to fuel the expansion plan. Big C will rebrand 24 AbouThai locations in Hong Kong under its own name next month, with a goal of opening 25 stores per year and reaching 99 stores in the territory by the end of 2026. 

Founded in 2015, AbouThai ventured into the convenience store sector in Hong Kong last year. However, the company has suffered substantial setbacks. Several branches have been sued over rent arrears. 

Big C Supercenter’s forthcoming IPO in Thailand is projected to raise up to $1 billion, more than twice the value estimated last year. Berli Jucker’s supermarket arm, controlled by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, expects to go public as early as the fourth quarter of this year, six years after it was delisted.

The retailer has approximately 2000 stores – ranging from hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores to pharmacies – in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Hong Kong marks the group’s first foray outside Southeast Asia. 

Big C Supercenter, founded in 1993 by Thai retail conglomerate Central Group, made its IPO debut in 2012, raising about US$112 million before being bought by Berli Jucker in 2016 and privatised in 2017.

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