Lotte Group Still Interested in Indonesian Retailer Matahari

Lotte Group is still interested in PT Matahari Putra Prima, Indonesia’s largest retailer by market value, an official for the South Korean group of companies said.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is in talks to partner with Matahari, while Lotte has pulled out, Reuters reported yesterday, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the deal.

“Matahari didn’t tell us to come to talks, and that appears to be because of differences over pricing,” Hwang Kag Gyu, executive vice president of international and new business planning at Lotte Group, said by phone today. “Still, if talks with Wal-Mart don’t go smoothly, there may be an opportunity to us as well. So we’re still waiting.”

Matahari hasn’t “talked to any party,” spokesman Danny Kojongian said by phone today.

The Indonesian retailer last month said it will seek a “global partner” to help develop its Hypermart business after deciding to retain the unit. A partnership may take the form of a global retailer buying a majority stake, Matahari’s spokesman said at the time.

The company’s hypermarkets, with annual sales of about $1 billion, rival Carrefour SA in Southeast Asia’s largest economy and most populous nation, which is forecast to expand 6.4 percent this year. Matahari, which means “sun” in Indonesian, has 52 of the large-format outlets that combine features of a supermarket with a department store.

Lotte Group is the parent of Lotte Shopping Co., South Korea’s biggest retailer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saeromi Shin in Seoul at sshin15@bloomberg.net; Widya Utami in Jakarta at wutami@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Longid in Hong Kong at flongid@bloomberg.net

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