Siam Makro surges on US$7 bil deal to control Lotus stores

Siam Makro surges on US$7 bil deal to control Lotus stores
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(Sept 1): Siam Makro Pcl surged as much as 24% after Thailand’s biggest operator of cash-and-carry stores announced a plan worth about 218 billion baht (US$7 billion) to take control of retailer Lotus from other affiliates of the Charoen Pokphand Group. 

The share-price gain was the biggest since August 2013, with the deal leading to Siam Makro taking a 76% stake in the Lotus chain in Thailand, which has about 2,000 outlets, and Malaysia, with a much smaller footprint. Lotus runs outlets ranging from grocery stores, hypermarkets and convenience shops.  

The deal involves purchases of new shares of Lotus’s parent, closely held CP Retail Holding Co, by current owners including listed firms CP All Pcl and Charoen Pokphand Foods Pcl, according to a statement to the Stock Exchange of Thailand. That will trigger a mandatory tender, and after existing owners buy the new shares, they will then sell them to a unit of Siam Makro, the statement said.  

Siam Makro’s largest shareholders are units of the Charoen Pokphand Group, a holding company of the Chearavanont family, Thailand’s richest dynasty. The group is Southeast Asia’s largest animal feed and meat processor, runs the country’s 7-Eleven convenience network, controls the wireless network of True Corp Pcl and has an array of property developments. 

Siam Makro can use Lotus’s “retailing expertise to help improve its property management and unlock value in the future,” Sirima Dissara, an analyst at SCB Securities Co, wrote in a note Wednesday. “It will be able to collaborate with companies under the CP Group to boost revenue and optimize costs.”

Lotus was founded by Charoen Pokphand in 1994, which took in Tesco Plc as a partner. The UK firm bought control after the Thai company was hit by the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. Last year, though, the British firm sold its stake back to the local partner in a US$10.6 billion deal that required the Thai antitrust agency’s approval based on conditions including more separation between CP All and Siam Makro. 

To be sure, Covid-19 has put a squeeze on Lotus’s short-term earnings and will slow the potential synergies flowing to Makro, Tareetip Wongsaengpaiboon, an analyst at Kasikorn Securities Co, said in a report. Makro will incur expenses from the deal and related consolidations of about 6.7 billion baht, which will take as long as two years to cover, the analyst said.

After the tender and share swaps, Siam Makro will control 76% of Lotus, according to the exchange statement. 

Shares of CP All dropped as much as 1.9% and Charoen Pokphand Foods was up as much as 1.9%.