Department stores KaDeWe, Selfridges and Globus may be transferred to Thailand’s Central Group – Kommersant

Department stores KaDeWe, Selfridges and Globus may be transferred to Thailand’s Central Group – Kommersant

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Thailand’s Central Group, which is the largest operator of retail chains in Thailand, intends to buy a number of assets from the bankrupt Austrian holding Signa, reports Business Insider (BI). According to the publication, we are talking about a possible buyout of iconic European department stores – KaDeWe in Germany, the Selfridges chain in the UK and Globus in Switzerland.

Austrian Signa Holding filed an application for bankruptcy in November last year. According to JPMorgan estimates, the company’s total debt exceeds €13 billion, and about 120 banks are its creditors in one way or another. And in January, my own bankruptcy filing filed German chain KaDeWe, which, in addition to department stores of the same name, includes luxury stores Alsterhaus in Hamburg and Oberpollinger in Munich.

Central Group is a long-time partner of Signa Holding. The Thai company, for example, already owns 50.01% of the KaDeWe Group shares. Additionally, Signa and Central jointly acquired UK chain Selfridges in 2021. At the same time, Selfridges department stores are managed by one company, and the commercial real estate used by the chain of stores is managed by another. Swiss Globus Signa and Central are equally owned.

As BI notes, Signa founder Rene Benko hid from his Thai partners that shortly after the joint purchase of Selfridges with Central, he transferred part of his shares in the British department store chain to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. Now, according to BI sources, Central Group is in talks with the Saudis to increase its stake in Selfridges to 60%. Following Signa’s collapse in November, Central took full control of Selfridges’ operational management. According to BI, the Thai conglomerate intends to take over the operational management of the department store in the long term.

Kirill Sarkhanyants

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