Tesco to exit Japan but only after spending £40m more


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The Independent Online

Tesco has managed to offload its troubled Japanese business for a "nominal sum" to the country's biggest retailer, but will have to commit a further £40m to the operation before its exposure ends.

The supermarket giant entered Japan in 2003 but the business has racked up trading losses of £60m over the past two years. In 2011 it announced plans to quit the country, where it has 117 small stores.

Tesco has operations in 14 countries. It typically sets itself the long-term target of becoming the number one or second-biggest player in markets overseas, but it has just a 0.1 per cent share of the Japanese market.

In a two-stage process, it is to sell half of its shares to Aeon, which has 12 core retail businesses, including a supermarket chain, for a nominal sum to create a joint venture. It will then invest an additional £40m into the joint venture to "finance further restructuring", after which it will have no further financial exposure to Japan. At an unspecified date, Tesco will sell its remaining 50 per cent stake to Aeon.