French retailer mulls Indian tie

French retailer Auchan plans an India entry through a joint venture with Max Hypermarket of Dubai-based conglomerate Landmark Group.

Auchan has been in talks with Landmark Group chairman Micky Jagtiani for its possible entry in India, the Times of India reported.

“The discussions with Auchan are in an advanced stage and a decision is likely to take place in a month’s time,” said a person familiar with the development.

The source said the final agreement will depend upon the Indian government’s decision on foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail which was suspended in December due to lack of political consensus.

Auchan Group remains mum about the progress of the deal negotiations. 

However, Auchan’s chairman Vianney Mulliez said in the company’s annual: “We are clear-sighted – the outlook is more positive in emerging countries than in the euro zone where the crisis is not yet over and continues to strongly depress consumer spending. In 2011, our 50th year, we will see the number of hypermarkets worldwide break through the 600 mark. We also plan to continue developing franchise and partnership agreements.”

Auchan will be a competitor to French hypermarket operator Carrefour and American multinational retailer Wal-mart if franchise agreement pursued.

Based in Croix, France, Auchan is controlled by the Mulliez family. It operates 581 hypermarkets along with 2384 supermarkets and minimarkets. Among its biggest markets are China where it operates 197 hypermarkets and Russia where it has about 50.

Currently, Max Hypemarket has ties with Dutch food retailer Spar.


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