Tesco has dismissed reports it is preparing to bid for Malaysian supermarket chains Tops or Parkson Stores as "wildly exaggerated" and "highly premature". "But it's no secret Tesco is actively seeking commercial opportunities in Malaysia," said a spokeswoman. She would not comment on specific targets, but rubbished reports Tesco is eyeing Woolworth's, Australia's biggest supermarket chain. Industry sources suspect the retailer is delaying any announcement on its Malaysian activities until its interim results are released on September 19. While a move into the Australian market might not be an immediate priority, one analyst said: "I wouldn't rule anything out. Now Aldi has moved in, the market is hotting up." By 2002, 45% of Tesco's selling space will be overseas. Ahold subsidiary Tops is Malaysia's biggest supermarket business with about 40 stores, making it the perfect platform for a foreign predator to expand into China and Japan. Tops cfo Frits Van Peski has categorically denied the rumours. {{NEWS }}