Thailand’s retail giant Charoen Pokphand Group is cited as one of the potential bidders to purchase the troubled Chinese operations of Lotte Mart, according to news reports on Sept. 18.
Reports said talks have stumbled over pricing. Lotte reportedly hopes to sell the Chinese operations for about 830 billion won (US$735 million), while CP is asking almost 30 percent discount citing political risks.
CP’s possible bid for Lotte Mart comes after news reports that Lotte’s crosstown rival Shinsegae Group is seeking to sell its five E-mart stores in China to the Thai conglomerate that operates its own Lotus supermarket chain.
Lotte currently operates 112 Lotte Mart stores in China but has suspended operations of 87 stores following an adverse hygiene report by authorities, which is widely seen as economic retaliation against Korean firms due to deployment of the THAAD missile system.
Reports said Lotte is unlikely to sell its Chinese business at a drastically lower price considering it has invested more than 2 trillion won since 2008. Even after the asset sale, most of the newly secured cash is expected to be used for repaying loans.