Yol Phokasub, chief executive of Central Retail Corporation, said the company will submit filings with the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) some time this year.
“Becoming a listed company will help increase the confidence [of investors] and make it easier for the company to negotiate future international partnerships, attract new talent and sources of capital,” Mr Yol said. “Partnerships and collaboration are significant. We can’t be alone amid the rapidly changing retail landscape.”
He said the company has been preparing itself for three years to list on the stock market, be it through restructuring to fit with SET regulations, strengthening its core business or creating a new platform.
The company will bring in retail businesses including Robinson and its operations in Vietnam and Italy under Central Retail Corporation for the listing.
As part of the share sale, Central will de-list its SET-listed retail subsidiary, Robinson Plc, in which it holds a majority stake.
Bualuang Securities and Phatra Asset Management are the company's financial advisers.
Central executives did not give any further details about the listing plan.
Central Retail reported revenue amounting to B240 billion in 2018. Of the total, 77% was from the domestic market, 14% from Vietnam and 9% from Italy.
As of March 31, 2019 it had 1,979 stores in 51 provinces in Thailand with sales space of 2,945,811 square metres. The company also has 134 stores in Italy under the Rinascente brand and in Vietnam under the Go, Lanchi and Nguyenkim brands.
Central Retail operates in multiple categories from fashion to food.
“Central has a clear position to win, operating the business on a global scale with a local touch, dynamic diversified portfolio, success platform for all stakeholders, and is an empowering and caring organisation,” Mr Yol said. “The customers have changed, and Central has changed too.”
Tos Chirathivat, chairman of the executive committee, said Central has successful experience in business growth with its two listed companies, Central Hotel and Central Pattana Plc.
Central Hotel, which listed on the SET in 1990, has seen its market cap rise 29.1 times to B46.57bn from B1.6bn in 1990, while Central Pattana Plc now has a market cap of B332.11bn, a rise of 37.3 times from 1995.
Prasarn Trairatvorakul, chairman of the board of directors, said it's the right time for Central Retail to list.
“Thailand is a highly attractive and growing market because of high GDP per capita growth in the next five years, with a rapidly increasing urbanisation and historically stable growth in consumer expenditure,” Mr Prasarn said. “The number of tourist arrivals is expected to double to 52 million in 2023 from 26.6 million in 2013.”
GDP per capita is expected to reach US$685 by 2023, up from $505 in 2018.
Mr Yol said the company is committed to spending B40-50bn to expand its business this year and expects sales to grow by 1.8 times, and 2.2 times over GDP.
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