RT-Mart China, the country’s largest hypermarket chain by market share, is eyeing a US$800 million initial public offering in Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported, citing two people familiar with the situation. The company, which originated in Taiwan and is now part-owned by French chain Groupe Auchan, generated sales worth US$5.7 billion in 2009, or 10.7% of total spending at China’s hypermarkets. Carrefour (CA.Euronext) and Wal-Mart (WMT.NYSE) had market shares of 9.2% and 8.6% respectively. Both the French and US chains have identified China as a key growth market and RT-Mart is expected to use the listing proceeds to fund further expansion. The company may open up to 35 new stores annually over the next three years, which would bring its total to 210 by 2012. According to Chloe Wu, an analyst at Fubon Securities, RT-Mart owns only 20% of its stores in China, so it might be tempted to buy up land for new outlets.
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