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Aeon buys into Citimart, Fivimart
Hung Le
Friday,  Jan 30, 2015,00:24 (GMT+7)

Aeon buys into Citimart, Fivimart

Hung Le

By Hung Le - The Saigon Times Daily

The Aeon Citimart brand is unveiled by Citimart at its 20th anniversary celebration in November last year - PHOTO: LE HOANG

HCMC – Japanese supermarket chain operator Aeon Company Limited has formed business tie-ups with two local retailers by acquiring a 30% stake at Fivimart and a 49% stake at Citimart in an attempt to expand its local presence.

Sources close to the matter on January 28 told the Daily that Aeon Group is holding stakes in the two local supermarket chains, but declined to reveal the value of the transactions.

Meanwhile, Aeon Vietnam said the company has not received any official information about the stake acquisition.

Fivimart now operates 20 stores in Hanoi and other northern provinces while Citimart has 27 stores, mostly in HCMC.

Aeon will provide its Top Value products for Citimart and Fivimart supermarkets for sale and cooperate with the two partners to promote those products as well as consolidate and expand their distribution systems.

According to Japan Times, through the tie-ups, Aeon aims to better understand local business needs and acquire knowledge of merchandise procurement, while sharing its experiences in quality management and logistics with its partners.

Aeon sees Vietnam as its second most important market in Southeast Asia after Malaysia. It targets 200 stores across Vietnam and revenue of 100 billion yen (US$836 million).

Agreements for the two transactions are said to be clinched last year but the Japan retail giant has waited until it finished all procedures before announcing the stake acquisition.

Citimart announced the cooperation deal with Aeon and the Aeon Citimart brand at the 20th anniversary celebration of the local supermarket chain in November last year. But the supermarket operator did not reveal that Aeon would hold almost half of its stake at that time.

A source from Citimart said it still holds the post of chairperson at Aeon Citimart but the post of general director is in the hands of the Japanese partner. Aeon has helped change the sales system at Citimart, as well as train and transfer technology to Vietnamese staff.

Citimart said earlier that the two sides have targeted to develop around 500 supermarkets of different sizes by 2025.

In October last year, Japan’s Keizai newspaper reported on the cooperation deals of Aeon with Citimart and Fivimart.

Through the deals, Aeon will consume its products, build distribution systems and develop a number of shopping centers in Vietnam, according to the newspaper.

Industry insiders said the stake acquisition enables Aeon to spend less on initial investments but quickly enter the domestic market.

Aeon launched its first shopping mall in Vietnam in HCMC in January 2014 before opening a facility in the southern province of Binh Duong in November. It plans to open a third mall in Hanoi by the end of this year and targets to operate 20 shopping centers in Vietnam by 2020.

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