Monday, April 2, 2012


Braibant: Private placement is quicker

Big C Supercenter Plc (BIGC), the hypermarket operator, plans to raise 4 billion baht for business expansion this year, with a particular focus on small-format stores.

The company's board yesterday approved a private placement of up to 23.6 million authorised but unissued shares, representing 2.9% of Big C's existing share capital.

Based on current share price, the amount raised will be about 4 billion baht.

Another 1.5 billion baht of cash flow will be spent on business expansion in 2012.

Yves Braibant, the chief executive and president, said raising capital is an important step in the company's strategic plan announced last year to become the No.1 modern food retailer in Thailand and a major regional player.

Funds raised will allow Big C to support the rollout of small-format stores including through the recently announced partnership with Bangchak Petroleum Plc.

That deal provides the potential for 300 Mini Big C branches at Bangchak stations over the next five years.

"We believe this is the right time to engage in private placement to allow us to maximise our reach to consumers nationwide," said Mr Braibant.

He said private placement has a short timetable and allows for quick-to-market fundraising, making it the most appropriate choice.

The company expects total revenue to grow by 8-10% this year.

The board decided to postpone the rights offering announced last October to raise up to 25 billion baht of capital and will reconsider the issue at an appropriate time.

Kudatara Nagaviroj, the corporate affairs director, said Big C is forging ahead with its 2012 expansion plan, which includes opening 4 Big C Supercenters, 6 Big C Markets and 75 Mini Big C branches nationwide.

BIGC shares closed yesterday on the SET at 164 baht, down seven baht, in trade worth 216 million baht.

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