Carrefour to stay in Malaysia, Singapore

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French retail giant Carrefour said Thursday it had cancelled a planned sale of its stores in Malaysia and Singapore, deciding instead to build up its market share in the Asian nations.

Carrefour, the world's second-biggest retailer behind US colossus Wal-Mart, said this week it was offloading its 42 Thai stores, and had been looking to sell its 23 Malaysian and two Singaporean outlets as well.

But the firm said it had decided to retain its presence in Malaysia and Singapore, after the planned auction did not attract bids that would have justified proceeding.

"We have some very encouraging growth prospects in Malaysia," Carrefour chief executive Lars Olofsson told the Wall Street Journal, adding "we can create much more value by doing it ourselves".

"Emerging markets are going to be the major engine of growth in the medium and long term for our company," he said.

Carrefour Malaysia officials confirmed the report to AFP.

The French company on Monday said it was selling its Thai business to rival Big C, part of the French Casino group, for 868 million euros (1.19 billion dollars).

Reports emerged in July that Carrefour was planning to sell its business in all three Southeast Asian countries in an apparent bid to consolidate its business and move its resources to the booming Indian market.

However, the company denied the reported realignment in August.

According to Carrefour, Asia accounted for 7.6 percent of its total net sales of 85.96 billion euros in 2009, compared to 13.7 percent for Latin America and 35.7 percent for Europe excluding France.

© 2010 AFP

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