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April 10, 2015

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Struggling Lianhua sells stake to Yonghui

YONGHUI Superstores will become the second-biggest shareholder of Shanghai’s supermarket chain Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co by buying a 21.17 percent stake, both companies said in their filings yesterday.

Yonghui will pay HK$929 million (US$1.19 million), or HK$3.92 per share, for the stake, the filings said.

Shanghai Baiqing Investment Co, a shareholder of Lianhua and a wholly owned unit of Bailian Group, has agreed to sell 237.03 million shares to Yonghui under the deal, which is still subject to approval from the board of directors and regulatory authorities.

The Bailian Group remains Lianhua’s largest shareholder.

Lianhua has been struggling to adapt to a new retail environment while Yonghui, headquartered in Fujian Province, is quickly catching up in the domestic market especially in lower-tier cities, although its footprint in the eastern China region, including Shanghai, is small.

Yonghui owned 339 supermarkets in 17 provinces and regions at the end of 2014 while the number of Lianhua outlets dropped to 4,412 at the end of June 2014, from 4,530 at the end of 2013.


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