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Tesco sells out of Chinese joint venture for net £275mln; plans UK job cuts in bakery overhaul

The supermarket giant has been retreating from Asia for some years.

Tesco PLC -
At the end of 2019, it also started a strategic review of the businesses in Thailand and Malaysia

Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) is to sell its 20% stake in Gain Land, a Chinese joint venture set up with China Resources Holdings in 2014.

Proceeds from the sales will amount to £275mln in cash and will allow Tesco further to simplify and focus the business on its core operations.

The supermarket giant has been retreating from Asia for some years.

It pulled out of direct involvement in the Chinese and South Korean markets in 2015 and Japan a year later.

At the end of 2019, it also started a strategic review of the businesses in Thailand and Malaysia, which have been two of its fastest-growing operations in recent years but are now seen as a peripheral part of the operation.

A sale would transform its balance sheet and allow to contrate on reviving the core UK grocery operation.

Bakery job cuts

In another announcement, on Tuesday afternoon, the company unveiled plans to cut around 1,800 jobs as part of an overhaul of its bakery business in the UK.

Tesco said “a big shift in customer tastes and preferences” over the years meant shoppers were buying fewer traditional loves of bread and were instead looking for a wider variety of options including wraps, bagels and flatbreads, and as a result, it would be converting 58 of its bakeries so taff will only be able to finish off pe-baked goods in-store.

Meanwhile, 201 bakeries will have a mixture of pre-baked and 'from-scratch' products, while 257 stores will retain full from-scratch baking capabilities.

Shares were down 1.9% at 244.6p in late-afternoon trading on Tuesday.

--Adds details of bakery staff cuts and updates share price--

Quick facts: Tesco PLC

Price: 228.4 GBX

LSE:TSCO
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £22.37 billion
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