CORRECTED-Temasek agrees to buy stake in A.S.Watson For $5.7 bln

Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:20am EDT

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(Corrects the total value of A.S. Watson to HK$177 bln from HK$144 bln in paragraph four)

HONG KONG, March 21 (Reuters) - Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings has agreed to buy a 24.9 percent stake in Li Ka-shing's retail business A.S. Watson for about HK$44 billion ($5.7 billion).

Li's Hutchison Whampoa, which owns A.S Watson, said in a statement on Friday that it would use part of the proceeds from the stake sale to pay a special dividend of HK$7.00 per share to its shareholders.

Hutchison launched a strategic review of its retail operations in October, with an aim to list part of the company in Hong Kong, among other financial centres.

Temasek's investment in A.S Watson values the company at HK$177 billion ($22.8 billion). A.S. Watson's business includes supermarket operator ParknShop and the Watsons, Superdrug and Kruidvat personal care stores.

($1 = 7.7645 Hong Kong Dollars) (Reporting by Denny Thomas; Editing by Ryan Woo)

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