Thai billionaires seek to dominate Vietnam retail market

(VOV) -The news that German Metro AG is selling its wholesale operations and real estate portfolio in Vietnam to Beri Jucker (BJC) owned by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi for US$879 million has met with mixed reviews.

Many leading market analysts believe it evidences Thai billionaires’ ambitions to conquer the Vietnamese retail market.

Chirathivat family

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Tos Chirathivat

Central Group was founded by Tiang Chirathivat in 1927. Samrit Chirathivat, Tiang’s son inherited his father’s business and opened the doors for the first shopping centre in Thailand – Central Department Store – in Wang Burapha, Bangkok in 1957. The Chirathivat family now tops the list of Thai richest with reported total net assets of US$12.7 billion, according to Forbes.

The Central Group opened Robins shopping centre on an area of 10,000sq.m at Royal City Commercial Centre in Hanoi in April 2014. It is destined to set up a new centre in Ho Chi Minh City in November and plans to open more trading centres in Vietnam from now until 2016.

Dhani Chearavanont

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Dhani Chearavanont 

Dhani Chearavanont ranks second among Thai richest with a fortune purported to be US$11.5 billion as of June 2014, according to Forbes ranking.

He is President of the Charoen Pokhphand Group (CP Group) which specialises in agriculture, telecommunications, marketing, distribution, import-export, oil refinery, real estate, insurance, automobile and animal feed . In addition, he is a member of boards of directors of 11 organisations operating in 15 different fields.

CP Group appeared in Ho Chi Minh City in 1990 and now has a company named C.P Vietnam in Bien Hoa City, southern Dong Nai province.

CP Vietnam holds 7% of market shares of pork, eggs from factory-farmed chicken (16%) and factory-farmed chicken meat (22%).

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi

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Berli Jucker Group (BJC) owned by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi has purchased Metro Vietnam at a cost of US$879 million.

Charoen is the third richest people in Thailand with estimated assets worth around US$11.3 billion. Drinking and retail are his main sphere of business.

BJC has appeared in Vietnam for a long time operating in glass bottle and can production. In addition, it also has a produce Cellox paper and ICHIBAN soya curd facility.

Last year, BJC bought Family Mart’s shares from Japanese partner and changed Family Mart name into B’s mart with 94 shops across Vietnam. It strengthened its appearance in Vietnam  by opening two subsidiary companies – Thai Corp in south and Thai An in north.

Furthermore, TTC Land owned by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi holds 65% of shares five-star hotel Melia Hanoi.