(Corrects story from March 20 to fix company name to Tesco Plc, not Tesco Corp, and remove stock code TESO.O from headline)
HONG KONG, March 20 Retail-focused conglomerate China Resources Enterprise (CRE) expects government approval for its joint venture with British supermarket operator Tesco Plc to come through in May, CRE's chief financial officer said on Thursday.
CRE, which has interests ranging from beverage making to operating supermarket chains, formed the joint venture with Tesco last year. Under the terms of the deal, CRE agreed to combine its nearly 3,000 mainly hypermarkets or supermarkets across China and Hong Kong with Tesco's 131 outlets in China.
"We expect the Tesco join venture will eventually get approval from Chinese authorities in May," CFO Frank Lai told a news conference.
"We can book in the sales from JV in third or fourth quarter this year," he said, adding that he expected Tesco China would turn to profit in 2 to 3 years. (Reporting by Donny Kwok and Denny Thomas; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)