The BBC reports this morning that Tesco is getting out of Asia with the sale of its operations in Thailand and Malaysia for the equivalent of $10.6 billion (US).
According to the story, "The supermarket chain has 2,000 stores across both countries, under the Tesco Lotus brand, and is selling them to Thai conglomerate CP Group."
CEO Dave Lewis says the sale is part of an effort "to further simplify and focus" its business, allowing it to concentrate on the UK, Ireland and central Europe. Roughly half the proceeds will be distributed to shareholders in a special dividend, with some of the balance being used to "slash debt."
- KC's View:
Tesco has become the amazing shrinking company, with so many of its global expansion efforts of the past decade or so shuttered or sold. Some of this is cyclical, some of it is a change in circumstance, but some of it is just the result of earlier mismanagement and misjudgment. (Can you say Fresh & Easy?)
Add this to the financial scandal related to the company's systemic and systematic overstatement of revenues and understatement of financial exposure, and you have a company that no longer is the jewel that was developed by Lord Ian MacLaurin out of the foundation laid by founder Jack Cohen.
A bit of Cohen trivia: He used to give out gold tie pints engraved with the letters "YCDBSOYA." The meaning: "You can't do business sitting on your arse."