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Thai IPOs surge as tycoons seek to modernize their family empires

Central Group aims to raise $2.5bn from retail unit in country's biggest-ever listing

Central Retail, which is set for an IPO, operates the Central and Robinson department stores and other retailers. (Nikkei montage)

BANGKOK -- The latest entry in Thailand's IPO boom could also be its biggest: Retail giant Central Group is hoping to raise as much as $2.5 billion when it lists department store unit Central Retail later this month.

Like other Thai family conglomerates, Central is looking to raise funds to expand, go digital and modernize management -- all without giving up too much family control. Strategically listing units could help these groups achieve their goals.

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