* To conclude how to finance the acquisition on Aug 19
By Khettiya Jittapong and Saranya Suksomkij
BANGKOK Aug 8 Thai consumer conglomerate Berli
Jucker (BJC) expects its acquisition of the Vietnam
cash-and-carry unit of German's Metro AG to boost
annual sales by at least half next year to almost 63 billion
baht ($1.96 billion).
BJC, controlled by Thai billionaire Charoen
Sirivadhanabhakdi, said it had agreed to buy the Metro unit for
655 million euros ($876 million) to expand into the fast growing
consumer goods sector in Southeast Asia.
After the purchase is completed in the first half of next
year, BJC said it expects overall sales to jump 50 percent. Last
year, BJC's sales amounted to 42 billion baht. The company is
the largest glass bottle maker in Southeast Asia and makes a
range of consumer goods including tissue paper, snacks and soap.
"We aim to be a leader in supply chain. The acquisition in
Vietnam will not only help us achieve the target, but also give
us the opportunity to tap one the fastest growing markets in
ASEAN," Metinee Isarachinda, assistant vice president of
investor relations, told Reuters.
BJC plans to use capital and debt to finance the acquisition
and will decide how to raise fund in a board meeting on Aug 19,
Metro Vietnam is the country's second biggest wholesale
grocery store chain, generating sales of 516 million euros in
the 2012/13 fiscal year.
BJC is seeking to grow its business abroad to offset slowing
demand at home. Vietnam's retail market, worth $124 billion last
year, is expected to grow 12 percent this year which is slower
than the 31 percent growth in 2008 as the economy weakens, but
that is still higher than the 7 percent growth projected for
retail sales in Thailand.
BJC is already exposed to Vietnam's $124 billion consumer
market through its 65 percent stake in B's Mart convenience
On Friday, BJC shares fell as much as 4 percent on concerns
that the company may need to raise funds via equity to finance
($1 = 32.1500 Thai Baht)
(Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Miral