Casino, Tesco and Others Move To 2nd Round Of Auction For Carrefour’s Southeast Asia Stores

(Reuters) – France’s Casino (CASP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Britain’s Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) are among the bidders still in the running to buy Carrefour’s (CARR.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) stores in Southeast Asia, people close to the matter said on Wednesday.

Carrefour, Europe’s No.1 retailer, has set a November 5 deadline for second round bids, two other sources said. The $1 billion auction has generated robust demand.

Carrefour wants to sell its shops in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand to focus on markets where it holds leading positions.

Dairy Farm (DAIR.SI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which owns Giant and Cold Storage chains in Southeast Asia, has also made it to the next round for buying Singapore and Malaysian assets, sources said.

Dairy Farm is backed by Jardine Group in its pursuit of the assets.

Japan’s second-largest retail group Aeon Co Ltd 8267.T. has also advanced to the next round, sources said, though it was not clear if they were still bidding for all the three assets.

Malaysia-based private equity firm Navis Capital Partners has also progressed to the next stage for buying Malaysia and Singapore assets, a separate source said.

Dairy Farm and Navis declined to comment, while Aeon could not be reached for a comment immediately.

Thai conglomerate Berli Jucker Pcl BJC.BK said on Tuesday it had also got through the first round of bidding for Carrefour’s Thai stores, while a source close to the matter said Thai energy giant energy giant PTT Pcl (PTT.BK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) had also made it through the first round for the same assets.

Tesco, the world’s No.3 retailer behind Carrefour and U.S. group Wal-Mart (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), is market leader in both Thailand and Malaysia.

Newspapers had reported the group had been dropped after first round bids, but the Financial Times said earlier on Wednesday that it had progressed to a second round.

Casino is also a force within the region, and part-owns Thailand’s Big C Supercenter BIGC.BK.

Carrefour, Casino and Tesco have all declined to comment on the sale process.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar in Singapore, Mark Potter in London and Dominique Vidalon in Paris and Denny Thomas in Hong Kong; Editing by Will Waterman and Jacqueline Wong)