Oct 18 Hutchison Whampoa, controlled
by Asia's richest man, Li Ka-shing, has scrapped a plan to sell
its Hong Kong supermarkets business, ParknShop and will instead
focus on expanding in China, it said on Friday.
The sale of ParknShop, which operates 345 stores in Hong
Kong, China and Macau, had been expected to fetch between $3
billion and $4 billion, with prospective bidders including
prominent retailers, such as state-owned China Resources
Enterprises, Japan's Aeon Co Ltd and
Australia's Woolworths Ltd.
But Hutchison has decided not to sell after conducting an
initial strategic review with advisors Goldman Sachs and Bank of
American Merrill Lynch, it said in a filing to the Hong
Kong Stock Exchange on Friday.
"The company has decided not to pursue a private sale of its
ParknShop business at this time and will continue to implement
an accelerated growth strategy with a particular focus in
mainland China," Hutchison said.
The ports-to-energy conglomerate said selling ParknShop
would not deliver maximum value to its shareholders.
Hutchison also said it planned to conduct a strategic review
of its health and beauty retail business A.S. Watson & Company
Limited with possible options including public offerings of all
or some of those businesses in appropriate markets.
Established in 1973, ParknShop had a 40 percent share of the
Hong Kong market for supermarkets in the year to June, according
to Nielsen Homescan, with Dairy Farm at 33 percent.
ParknShop generated HK$21.7 billion in revenue last year and
earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of
HK$1.4 billion, another person familiar with the matter
previously told Reuters.