Hutchison Whampoa Drops Plans to Sell Grocery Chain
HONG KONG--Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (0013.HK), controlled by Asian's richest man, Li Ka-shing, has decided not to sell
its supermarket chain ParknShop, after concluding the private sale at this time would not deliver maximum value to the
Also, the conglomerate said on Friday in a press release it is considering expanding a strategic review of its retail
unit A.S. Watson & Co. Ltd to include public offerings of all or some of those businesses. But, it will not consider
giving up control of any of the businesses.
A.S. Watson has 11,093 stores in 33 markets in Asia and Europe, including health & beauty chain Watsons, ParknShop
supermarket, Fortress electrical appliances chain, and Watson's Wine. In Europe, it operates a number of health & beauty
chains--Drogas, Kruidvat, Rossmann, Savers, Spektr, Superdrug, Trekpleister and Watsons Ukraine.
Its retail business reached $75.8 billion Hong Kong dollars ($9.8 billion) in revenue the first half of this year, a
38% increase over the same period of time, while earnings before interest and tax rose 14% to HK$4.3 billion.
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. launched the sale of ParknShop in June, seeking to fetch between $3 billion and $4 billion.
Four bidders remained running for the supermarket chain after eight applicants submitted bids for ParknShop by mid-
August. The four were Australian supermarket operator Woolworths Ltd. (WOW.AU), Chinese supermarket chain China
Resources Enterprise Ltd. (0291.HK), Japanese department-store operator Aeon Co. (8267.TO) and a joint bid by Thai
billionaire Dhanin Chearavanon and Carlyle Group LP (CG), people familiar with the situation said earlier.
ParknShop, which has 345 outlets in Hong Kong, Macau and southern China, has a 19% share of Hong Kong's fresh-food and
consumer goods market, according to researcher Nielsen Homescan. The second-largest supermarket chain, Wellcome--part of
conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd. (JAR.LN, J36.SG)--has 15%.
Hutchison said ParknShop will continue to implement a growth strategy with a particular focus in China.
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