Central Retail executives at the listing ceremony.

Central Retail Corporation, which operates a consumer portfolio across Thailand, Vietnam and Italy, began trading today on the Thai stock exchange, in an initial public offering that raised 78.12 billion Thai baht, or $2.48 billion at current exchange, valuing the company at 253 billion baht, or $8.06 billion.

The firm is a subsidiary of Central Group, the influential Thai conglomerate owned by the Chirathivat family, and is its latest division to go public. The company’s other two subsidiaries, operating in the shopping mall development and hospitality, are already listed on the Thai stock exchange. After listing, the Chirathivat family still holds 70 percent of CRC share ownership.

“CRC is very proud to make a new mark with a success in becoming the country’s largest IPO ever, as well as being the world’s second-highest-ranking IPO offered by retailers,” Yol Phokasub, chief executive officer of CRC, said Thursday.

“Notwithstanding ongoing challenges that bring short-term impact to Thai capital market, the remarkable deal reflects investor confidence in our long-term potential and growth opportunity driven by our strong and stable fundamentals that propels organic growth through expansion and stores’ renovation of our leading retail banners in Thailand, Vietnam and Italy, with plan and target number clearly set,” he said.

In addition to investing further into omnichannel strategy and store renovations, Phokasub highlighted that CRC would use the raised funds “to explore opportunity for inorganic growth through constant acquisitions of promising retail businesses in Thailand and overseas with prudently disciplined investment strategy.”

Yol Phokasub, ceo of Central Retail Corporation, left, and Tos Chirathivat, ceo of Central Group, right.

Yol Phokasub, ceo of Central Retail Corporation, and Tos Chirathivat, ceo of Central Group.  Courtesy

As of Sept. 30, 2019, CRC operated 1,922 stores in Thailand plus 133 stores in Vietnam and nine department stores in Italy.

The main brands under the portfolio include Central Department Store, Robinson Department Store, Rinascente, Super Sports and Central Marketing Group, its international fashion and beauty distribution business, which works with Guess, Topshop, Polo Ralph Lauren, Clarins, Aesop, Lee and Wrangler. In addition, it operates grocery, convenience and electronics stores.

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