Central Retail launches largest IPO in Thai history

It’s a new record. Central Retail Corporation floated the largest initial public offering in the history of the Stock Exchange of Thailand last week, raising over $2 billion from investors who remain bullish despite digital disruption and relatively weak economic growth.

Central Retail Corporation (CRC) is part of the Central Group founded by the Chirathivat family. The Group has units in retail, hotels, restaurants, real estate, and merchandising. Central opened Thailand’s first modern department store in Bangkok in 1956 and now operates in nine countries in Asia and Europe.

CRC is a holding company investing in multi-format and multi-category retail platforms in Thailand and abroad. The Bangkok Post said CRC’s IPO was the world’s second-largest retail capitalization offering.

“The share price of Central Retail Corporation Plc (CRC) held steady during the first day of trading Thailand’s largest-ever market capitalization equity on Thursday, amid sentiments blighted by the Covid-19 epidemic,” the Bangkok Post reported as trading ended the day of the stock’s debut.

The Covid19 or coronavirus epidemic emanating from China and spreading across several continents has been sending tourism, business travel, and trade into a tailspin in many countries. The ripple effects are just starting to have an impact as global companies such as Apple of the U.S. have said the epidemic is affecting its production of iPhones.

Central Retail Corporation’s successful stock debut in the current environment is a testament to its strengths as a company and its prospects for the future.

“Several equity funds and foreign investors have accumulated CRC shares because of the equity’s fundamentals,” said Mongkol Puangpetra, Executive Vice-President for Strategy Research at KTB Securities Thailand.

“Central Retail’s presence is definitely large and strong in Thailand’s retail industry, but it is still uncertain whether offline retail still has an edge over online retail and e-commerce right now,” he added.

E-commerce is on the rise in Southeast Asia, but Central malls, department stores, and mixed-complexes are still packed with shoppers and performing well. Central is also beginning to transition into online sales.

Photo courtesy of  https://www.centralretail.com/