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Costco gains complete control over Taiwan branch

US retailer reportedly pays US$1.05 billion for 45% share

Costco Wholesale has taken complete control over Costco Taiwan. 

Costco Wholesale has taken complete control over Costco Taiwan.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Costco Wholesale Corp. has bought the 45% stake in Costco Taiwan it did not already own, reports said Friday (July 1).

The US$1.05 billion (NT$31.29 billion) transaction marked the latest significant shift on Taiwan’s retail scene. In November 2021, PX Mart offered NT$11.5 billion to take over RT-Mart from France’s Auchan and Taiwan’s Ruentex Group.

For months, there have been reports that French supermarket chain Carrefour was looking to sell its 60% stake in its Taiwan arm. The owner of the remaining 40%, Uni-President Enterprises, had been seen as the preferred buyer, though other major Taiwan business groups have also expressed interest.

In the Costco case, the American retailer bought the remaining 45% stake from its original partner in Taiwan, the President Group, a company unrelated to Uni-President. The first Costco opened its doors in Kaohsiung City in 1997 before expanding to 14 stores nationwide, with a membership of more than 3 million, the Liberty Times reported.

The Kaohsiung-based group used to be a prominent player in the supermarket and department store sector in the southern city, but reduced its presence over the years. While the company did not comment on the Costco deal, the sale of its share means it will have a large amount of cash to launch new projects, the Liberty Times reported.