Japanese retail giant, Aeon Co Ltd today announced the completion of the share purchase of Carrefour's Malaysian operations for about 15.1 billion yen.

Aeon had entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the shares of Carrefour's Malaysian hypermarket operating subsidiary, Magnificient Diagraph Sdn Bhd, and Carrefour Malaysia Sdn Bhd, which owns 9.3 per cent of voting rights in the latter from Carrefour S.A and its subsidiaries.

Aeon said in a statement that the acquisition would be funded by existing cash in hand. Aeon Malaysia ranks as Malaysia's third largest retailer.

Aeon Asia Sdn Bhd, the new company to control and support group companies in the Asean region, will have its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, and commencedoperations today.

Aeon has been in the Malaysian market since 1984 and has 25 general merchandise stores and four supermarkets, through its subsidiary Aeon Co. (M) Bhd.

Aeon currently operates in six Asean countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Under the group's three-year Medium-Term Management Plan from fiscal year 2011 thorough 2013, Aeon views the "Shift to Asian Markets" as the key to realising growth outside the Japanese market.
Aeon also announced that the corporate name of Magnificent Diagraph Sdn Bhd, would be changed to Aeon BIG (M) Sdn Bhd.

With the acquisition of Carrefour Malaysia, Aeon becomes the second largest retailer group in Malaysia.
Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Asean business, Aeon Co Ltd,

Nagahisa Oyama said the total investment allocated for business expansion in Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia was 30 billion yen.

Oyama said the completion of the takeover of Carrefour Malaysia, will see a rebranding exercise, with the stores to be known as Aeon Big.

"We are planning 100 stores in Malaysia under the Aeon group by 2020," he told a media briefing to announce Aeon's business strategy in Malaysia.

He said the takeover of Carrefour Malaysia would not affect its employees with all being retained.

Oyama said Carrefour Malaysia will operate as a separate entity from Aeon Co (M) Bhd after the takeover, even if both entities, collaborate in the joint development of products.

Aeon Co (M) Bhd is listed on the main board of Bursa Malaysia. Oyama said the operating profit for the Malaysian operations this year is estimated to be 10 billion yen.

"We will be establishing growth strategies after the takeover of Carrefour Malaysia. We believe the business in Carrefour can be turned around. We believe part of the reason for the poor performance is that they did not invest properly," he added.

As of 4.20 pm, Aeon Co. (M) Bhd's share lost 18 sen to RM12.30.