Tesco has sold its Thai and Malaysian businesses to CP Group for £8.2bn, the supermarket giant announced this morning.
Following the deal Tesco will return £5bn to shareholders and make a £2.5bn pension contribution.
The disposal of the two Asian units, which were operated under the Lotus brand, will simplify the group’s structure and allow it to focus on its retail operations in the UK, Ireland and Central Europe.
The grocer also exited the Chinese market last month with the sale of its 20 per cent share in a joint venture for £275m.
Following the sale, the company will operate stores in the UK and Ireland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
Chief executive Dave Lewis said: “Following inbound interest and a detailed strategic review of all options, we are announcing today the proposed sale of Tesco Thailand and Tesco Malaysia.
“This sale releases material value and allows us to further simplify and focus the business, as well as to return significant value to shareholders.
“I would like to thank all of our Tesco Thailand and Tesco Malaysia colleagues for their dedication, professionalism and service to our customers, which has resulted in the creation of such a strong business.
“I am confident that the agreement we have reached with CP Group presents an exciting opportunity for their continued success.”
The sale is expected to complete in the second half of this year following shareholder and regulatory approval.