Hong-Kong based retail-to-energy conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa has dropped plans to auction its PARKnSHOP supermarket business.

“Hutchison Whampoa Limited has concluded that a sale of Pns by way of a private market transaction at this time would not deliver maximum value to the shareholders of the company,” the group said in a regulatory filing on Friday (18 October).

The sale had attracted interest from international and Chinese retailers, with the likes of Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand, Australia’s Woolworths Ltd and Japan’s Aeon, believed to be in the running, alonsgide Chinese firms China Resources Enterprise and Sun Art Retail Group. ParknShop, which operates 345 stores in Hong Kong, China and Macau, was expected to fetch around US$3-4bn.

Hutchison Whampoa said it has decided to “implement and accelerated growth strategy” with a particular focus on mainland China. When contacted by just-food, a spokesperson for the company declined to provide details on Hutchison Whampoa’s plans to step up ParknShop expansion and the company has not revealed its capex plans for the supermarket chain. 

The group added it has expanded its strategic review of its retail operations to look at maximising the value of health and beauty retailer A S Watson & Company Ltd.

Goldman Sachs and Bank of American Merrill Lynch advised Hutchison Whampoa in its strategic review.