China Resources Considers $2 Billion Supermarket Hong Kong IPO


China Resources Holdings Co. is weighing a Hong Kong initial public offering for its supermarket business CR Vanguard that could raise as much as $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The state-owned conglomerate has held initial talks with potential advisers on the share sale plan, which could happen as soon as next year, the people said, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.

China Resources Holdings is also looking to raise funds this year for the supermarket chain before the public offering, the people said. The size of the pre-IPO fundraising could be about $300 million to $400 million, according to one of the people.

CR Vanguard, founded in 1984, has more than 3,240 self-owned stores across China with over 170,000 employees, according to its website. Besides the Vanguard brand, it also owns several others including Suguo, Ole and Tesco Express.

Tesco Plc in 2014 set up a joint venture with China Resources Enterprise Ltd., a unit of China Resources Holdings, to run multi-format retail businesses in China. However, the merging of its stores with Tesco’s Chinese chain led to losses.

In 2015, CRE was renamed as China Resources Beer Holdings Co. after selling its non-beer assets, including the retail venture with Tesco, to China Resources Holdings for HK$30 billion ($3.9 billion).

Deliberations of the fundraising for CR Vanguard are at an early stage and details could still change, the people said. A representative for China Resources Holdings declined to comment, while a representative for CR Vanguard didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

WM Tech Corp., which operates its business under two supermarket brands Wumart and Metro China, has filed for a Hong Kong IPO in March. The company is planning to raise $700 million to $1 billion from the first time share sale, Bloomberg News has reported.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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