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Japan’s AEON Group to Sell Off MiniStop Korea
Put up for Sale
Japan’s AEON Group to Sell Off MiniStop Korea
  • By Lee Song-hoon
  • July 19, 2018, 11:46
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MiniStop Korea, the fourth largest convenience store franchise in Korea, will be put up for sale.
MiniStop Korea, the fourth largest convenience store franchise in Korea, will be put up for sale.

Korea's fourth-largest convenience store franchise, MiniStop Korea, will be put up for sale. The AEON Group of Japan, the largest shareholder of MiniStop Korea, is said to have decided to sell it as the profitability of the Korean convenience store franchise continues to fall.

According to the distribution industry on July 17, AEON selected Nomura Securities as the lead manager to sell off MiniStop Korea. AEON is considering the sale of its stake or the attraction of a strategic investor (SI). The size of and method for stake sale have not yet been determined.

At the moment, AEON is holding a 76.06% stake in MiniStop Korea while the Daesang Group of Korea and Mitsubishi of Japan, a 20% stake and a 3.94% stake, respectively. There are more than 2500 stores all over South Korea and MiniStop Korea posts about 1.18 trillion won in annual sales.

Rumors on the sale of MiniStop Korea were going around several times including at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. However, a spike in the number of single-person households led to a sharp rise in the number of convenience stores, making AEON hesitant to sell off MiniStop Korea.

However, as the competition in the domestic convenience store market has intensified recently, MiniStop Korea's operating profit plummeted, making AEON change its mind to sell off MiniStop Korea again. Actually, Mini Stop Korea's operating profit last year fell 23% year on year to only 2.6 billion won. This is a 20% decrease from 2015's operating profit of 13.2 billion won.

E-Mart 24 and Hyundai Department Store are among domestic candidates for the acquisition of MiniStop Korea. However, these companies said that they had no plans to take over the convenience store chain.

Meanwhile, MiniStop Korea said in an official press release on July 18, "Even though we are considering business tie-ups with other companies to improve corporate value, there are no concrete plans on selling off MiniStop Korea yet.”