Thai conglomerate Central Retail launched the country’s biggest ever IPO Thursday, giving it a market cap of around $8.1 billion in a punt on a sputtering economy now hampered by the new coronavirus.
Most Thais visit a shop each day owned by Central, a family-run empire which has hundreds of malls, electronics, grocery and 24-hour convenience stores across the country.
Shares in Central Retail Corporation (CRC) were offered at 42 baht on Thursday morning, but made only a modest quarter baht gain in early trading, with the company eying fundraising of just over 71 billion baht ($2.26 billion).
‘CRC is very proud’ to become ‘the country’s largest IPO ever,’ chief executive Yol Phokasub said.
The money raised will pay for ‘business expansion and stores’ renovation’, he added.
Super rich and well connected, the firm, founded by the Sino-Thai Chirathivat family after the Second World War, has been on an ambitious overseas spending spree — acquiring or partnering with luxury shopping brands in Italy, Germany and Switzerland.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand said the initial public offering puts CRC among Thailand’s 12 largest listed companies.
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