HONG KONG May 30 The retail arm of Hong Kong
billionaire Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa Ltd said
it has agreed to sell its 50 percent interest in a travel
services business to joint-venture partner Nuance Group AG for
an undisclosed sum.
A.S. Watson Group said the sale is expected to be completed
by the end of June.
"We see this deal as an opportunity for us to focus on our
core retail operations, as we continue to expand rapidly in Asia
and Europe," A.S. Watson managing director Dominic Lai said in a
statement late on Thursday.
The Nuance-Watson joint-venture operates 46 stores in Hong
Kong, Macau, mainland China's Zhuhai special economic zone, as
well as Singapore and Malaysia. It offers travel-related
services primarily in airports, and also at duty-free stores in
downtown shopping malls.
Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings in March
agreed to buy just under a quarter of A.S. Watson for about $5.7
billion - its single biggest investment and one that would boost
its exposure to Asia's fast growing consumer sector.
(Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)