French retail giant Auchan and its Taiwanese partner Ruentex Group is to list shares in their Chinese stores on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Auchan and Ruentex have drawn up plans to list a 20% stake in their Chinese venture Sun Holding, a spokesperson for the French retailer told just-food today (14 December).
Sun Holding, jointly owned by Auchan and Ruentex, had owned two-thirds of Auchan China, the French’s group hypermarket arm, and two-thirds of RT Mart China, Ruentex’s retail unit. Auchan had owned around a third of Auchan China directly, while Ruentex has held a similar direct stake in RT Mart.
Under an agreement signed at the weekend, the Sun Holding venture will own 100% of both Auchan China and RT Mart China. Auchan and Ruentex will, through a brand new holding company, own 51% of Sun Holding.
Shares representing 20% of Sun Holding will be listed in Hong Kong and 29% will be owned by Auchan and Ruentex directly, as well as individual investors.
The spokesperson said Auchan and Ruentex still needed to get regulatory approval for the plans but said the listing of the shares could take place next year or in early 2012.
The spokesperson said the complex move was designed to give Auchan and Ruentex, through the Sun Holding venture, “additional resources for development”. He added: “China is a very important zone of development for Auchan.”
The French retailer first joined forces with Ruentex in 2000. By the end of the year, Auchan will have 41 stores in China, up from 35 last year. The venture will also be running 150 RT Mart stores, up from 121 outlets last year.
The spokesperson said both chains would continue to run independently under the new operating structure and said Auchan and Ruentex planned to expand the business in 2011. He did not comment on how many stores would be opened next year.