Thailand’s competition regulator has allowed UK retail giant Tesco to sell its supermarket business to the Charoen Pokphand group, despite monopoly concerns.
The $ 10.6 billion sale to Thailand’s largest conglomerate was first reported in March and also covers Tesco’s operations in Malaysia.
“The majority of the commissioners agreed that the merger of these companies (could create) market domination … but it is not a monopoly,” the Office of the Trade Competition Commission of Thailand said in a statement on Friday. .
The regulator said CP Group is not allowed to pursue other retail merger deals over the next three years.
The chairman of the Thai Association of Retailers and Wholesalers, Somchai Pornrattanacharoen, who was on the regulator’s audit committee, publicly expressed fears last month that the deal would grant a monopoly to CP Group, according to media reports. local.
It’s sort of a boomerang sale – Tesco owns nearly 2,000 grocery stores across Thailand which it bought from CP Group during the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998.
The Chearavanont family and their patriarch Dhanin, who control the CP group, are worth around $ 27.3 billion and top the list of Thailand’s 27 billionaires, according to Forbes.
Tesco said in a statement that it is waiting for CP Group to receive an official notice of regulatory approval and will make another announcement if necessary.
CP Group, which owns interests spanning food, telecommunications and high-speed rail, has not commented on the regulator’s decision.
bur-lpm / qan