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Business trends

Asia's family-run business empires forge ahead in turbulent times

Thailand's CP pushes on with $11bn Tesco acquisition despite market turmoil

CP Group Senior Chairman Dhanin Chearavanont in 2019. The family-dominated firm was able to proceed with the buyout of Tesco operations in Southeast Asia despite an unsettled market. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

BANGKOK -- The timing was peculiar when the $10.57 billion takeover of Tesco's businesses in Thailand and Malaysia was announced by Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand in early March -- the world's stock markets were in turmoil as the coronavirus pandemic extended its reach.

The conglomerate and its publicly traded unit CP All Public could have easily hit pause to avoid unsettling shareholders during an already chaotic time. But it forged on. The massive deal, announced on March 9 as investors and companies in developed economies fled from risk, sent a strong message on the might of Southeast Asia's business empires.

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