British supermarket giant Tesco clinches Japan exit deal

June 18, 2012
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Supermarket giant Tesco/AFP
LONDON, Jun 18 – Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco announced on Monday that it had finally struck a deal to exit its Japanese business.

Tesco said in a statement that it would exit Japan in two stages — first by selling 50 percent of its shares in Tesco Japan to Aeon — the Asian country’s biggest retail group — for a nominal amount.

Once in the joint venture with Aeon, Tesco said it would then invest about £40 million (49 million euros, $63 million) into the Japanese business to finance further restructuring.

Thereafter, Tesco said that it would have no further financial exposure to the Japanese business. Completion of the transaction was meanwhile subject to normal regulatory approval.

Tesco had officially announced 10 months ago that it was pulling out of Japan and putting its more than 100 small supermarkets there on sale to focus on other operations in Asia.

“I thank our colleagues in Japan, who have done an excellent job for the business — in particular over recent months,” Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke said in Monday’s statement.

“We are very pleased to announce this deal with Aeon today, and are confident that this will deliver the best outcome for our staff, for our customers in Japan and for our shareholders,” he added.

Tesco entered Japan in 2003, while the business currently comprises 117 small stores — primarily under the Tsurakame, Tesco and Tesco Express fascias in the Greater Tokyo area.

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