BANGKOK Nov 29 Thailand's Berli Jucker Pcl
said on Tuesday it planned to spend about 10 billion
baht ($281 million) in 2017 on opening new stores for
hypermarket operator Big C Supercenter and expanding
its packaging capacity.
Berli, the retail flagship of Thai tycoon Charoen
Sirivadhanabhakdi's TCC Group, completed a $6.2 billion
acquisition of Big C in May after winning an offer for French
retailer Casino's 58.6 percent stake in February.
Some 80 percent of the budget will be used for Big C's
expansion plan in 2017 when it aims to open nine hypermarkets,
four Big C Markets and 200 Mini Big C outlets and renovate 42
existing stores, Rami Piirainen, vice president for investor
relations, told reporters.
The balance 20 percent will be used for raising the capacity
of its packaging business by 10 percent, or 300 tonnes per day,
from the current 2,735 tonnes, which is expected to be completed
in the fourth quarter of 2017, he said.
Big C has changed its strategy to focus more on boosting
margins and profits and discontinuing unprofitable sales such as
cigarette and alcohol products, he said.
Big C posted a 14.6 percent rise in net profit in the third
quarter due to improved margins.
Berli also planned to sell up to 20 billion baht of bonds in
early December and another 47 billion baht of bonds in 2017 to
refinance existing debt and reduce interest expenses, he said.
Berli has debt of about 154 billion baht, of which 67
billion baht comprises bank loans.
($1 = 35.5800 baht)
(Reporting by Manunphattr Dhanananphorn and Khettiya Jittapong;
Editing by Sunil Nair)