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CP Group takeover of Tesco's Thai unit raises alarming questions

Regulator's green light for hypermarket deal damages competitiveness

| Thailand
A Tesco Lotus shop in Bangkok, pictured on Mar. 9: the OTCC ruled that CP Group's acquisition of Tesco's network will not create a monopoly.   © Reuters

Pavida Pananond is professor of international business at Thammasat University, Bangkok

A recent decision by Thailand's competition watchdog, the Office of Trade Competition Commission, to approve the $10.6 billion takeover by Charoen Pokphand Group of Tesco Lotus, a hypermarket chain, is a blow to investor confidence in the country. The decision raises alarming questions about the integrity of the OTCC -- a supposedly reinvigorated reincarnation of a former regulator -- and demonstrates the power of the country's entrenched big-business oligarchy.

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