Carabao founder’s CJ Express weighs US$500 mil Thai IPO, sources say

Sathien Setthasit

Sathien Setthasit

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(Dec 1): CJ Express Group Co, a retail chain founded by energy drink tycoon Sathien Setthasit, is considering an initial public offering in Bangkok to raise at least US$500 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Thai supermarket company whose biggest shareholder is also Carabao Group Pcl’s chief executive officer is working with advisers on an offering that could take place as soon as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. CJ Express’s IPO could raise US$500 million to US$800 million, one of the people said.

Discussions are ongoing and details of the potential offering such as size and timing could change, the people said. A representative for CJ Express didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

First-time share sales in Thailand have proved relatively resilient amid a global slowdown in capital raising, with firms raising nearly US$4 billion so far this year, effectively flat versus the same period in 2021, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Global IPO volumes have fallen nearly 70% year-on-year, due to factors including rising rates and geopolitical tensions.

Pet food maker I-Tail Corp is expected to list this month in Bangkok and could be Thailand’s second-largest IPO this year, after Thai Life Insurance Pcl’s June listing raised about US$1 billion.

CJ Express was established in 2005 and operates supermarkets, as well as other retail outlets, according to the company’s website. As of Nov 30, the company has about 900 branches in 40 provinces nationwide, and plans to expand to the other 37 provinces.

Big C Supercenter Pcl, which runs supermarkets and convenience stores in Southeast Asia, is also considering going public in the country next year through an offering that could raise more than US$500 million, Bloomberg News has reported.