Lotte Bids for Singapore Duty-Free as DFS Exits Changi

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(Bloomberg) -- DFS Group Ltd. is pulling out of the liquor and tobacco business at Singapore’s Changi Airport, with duty-free stores to close in June 2020 when the current lease expires and hundreds of staff expected to lose their jobs, the Straits Times reports.

  • Lotte and Shilla, South Korea’s two largest duty-free operators, bid for the rights, Yonhap reported, citing industry sources
    • Other bidders include industry giants from the U.S., Germany, China and northern Europe, Yonhap said, citing the sources
    • Tender exercise closed on Monday and successful bidder is expected to be chosen around the end of this year or early next year, Yonhap said
  • DFS Chairman and CEO Ed Brennan blames regulatory changes on liquor, tobacco sales, as well as “geopolitical uncertainty”; says staying at Changi “not a financially viable option”: Straits Times
    • NOTE: In this year’s budget released in February, the Singapore government said it will cut duty-free alcohol allowances to 2 liters from 3 liters
    • “We are disappointed” that DFS has “opted not to participate in this tender but we will work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition to the new operator for the liquor and tobacco concession,” Changi Airport Group spokesman Ivan Tan said to the Straits Times
  • NOTE: DFS exit comes after nearly 40 years selling those products at Changi; Straits Times says it is the airport’s oldest and biggest tenant

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