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Asda boss sees possible stock market listing in 2-3 years

Credit: REUTERS/PHIL NOBLE

The timescale for a possible stock market listing of UK supermarket group Asda, by its U.S. parent Walmart, is two to three years, Asda's boss said on Wednesday.

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LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) - The timescale for a possible stock market listing of UK supermarket group Asda, by its U.S. parent Walmart WMT.N, is two to three years, Asda's boss said on Wednesday.

Walmart said in May that it would look at an initial public offering (IPO) for Asda after Britain's competition regulator blocked a 7.3 billion pound ($9.2 billion) takeover by rival Sainsbury's SBRY.L.

"If I was a betting man, I just think that is the sort of time the process will probably take," Asda Chief Executive Roger Burnley told Reuters.

"I use the phrase specifically that we're 'minded' to an IPO," he said, explaining that both Walmart and Asda had not reached a firm decision or were at a point of discussing a specific date.

Asked if Walmart was likely to retain a majority stake in Asda if it did decide on an IPO, Burnley said: "I very much think so."

He said Asda would work to convince investors in the meantime that the company has a bright future.

"We need to be performing in the short term, create growth in the medium term and create a sustainable story in the long term."

Speaking on the sidelines of Asda's "Christmas in July" event where it showcases its festive product line-up, Burnley said Walmart's support has been very strong since the failure of the Sainsbury's deal.

"Walmart will listen to any investments I want to make for sure, to make us sustainable into the future," he said.

(Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle and Elaine Hardcastle)

((james.davey@thomsonreuters.com))

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