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Tesco considers sale of Thai and Malaysian stores

PETALING JAYA (Dec 9): Britain's biggest retailer Tesco is reviewing its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia after being approached by an unnamed buyer, Reuters reported on Sunday.

“Tesco confirms that, following inbound interest, it has commenced a review of the strategic options for its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia, including an evaluation of a possible sale of these businesses,” it said in a statement released on Sunday.

The statement also said the evaluation was at an early stage and "there can be no assurance that any transaction will be concluded."

"A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate," Tesco added.

According to Reuters, Tesco operates 1,967 stores in Thailand and another 74 in Malaysia. In June, it announced plans to open another 750 stores in Thailand.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reported that Tesco's business in Asia is growing faster and is more profitable than its business in the UK, Ireland and central Europe.

It also quoted experts saying Tesco does not have to sell and any offer to buy would have to be very persuasive.

Tesco is five years into a UK-focused recovery plan launched by chief executive Dave Lewis after an accounting scandal in 2014 capped a dramatic downturn in trading.

In recent years, it has left South Korea, Japan, the US and Turkey.

If it sells its business in Asia, it would leave Ireland and central Europe as Tesco’s only remaining non-UK operations.

In October Lewis declared Tesco’s turnaround complete and said he would step down next summer.

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