Four global retailers seek to stake in Indonesian retailer

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Indonesian retailer Matahari Putra Prima said Thursday four global retailers, including South Korea's Lotte Shopping, were interested in buying a majority stake in its hypermarket business.

Matahari, which is controlled by the Lippo Group, one of country's biggest conglomerates, said the four companies were interested in expanding the hypermart business.

Matahari did not identify the other three suitors.

Dow Jones Newswires quoted a source as saying Matahari had shortlisted Lotte Shopping, the United States' Wal-Mart and France's Casino Guichard-Perrachon for the purchase. The report did not identify a fourth candidate.

Lotte Shopping said Tuesday that it would join the final bid to acquire Matahari in a bid to boost its presence overseas.

Analysts said foreign retailers wanted to enter the retail market in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy, due to the country's solid economic prospects.

"Indonesia has a huge, growing population and also huge domestic demands," Dongsuh Securities researcher Ryan Suwarno said.

"Hypermarkets are for middle- to lower-income type of consumers, which make up the largest segments here. Those hypermarkets are always crowded despite their locations," he said.

Matahari operates 51 hypermarkets and dozens of supermarkets and pharmacy outlets across Indonesia.

Indonesia, whose economy is forecast to grow by six percent this year, was largely unaffected by the recent global financial crisis due to its huge domestic demand.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story --

© 2010 AFP

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