Just days after Carrefour said its Chinese business is not for sale, news has emerged that the company is working with BNP Paribas on the divestment of a minority stake.
According to Reuters the Carrefour China business is losing money and the French retail giant is now sounding out potential buyers. It estimated the company is worth about US$1 billion, citing reliable sources.
When rumours of the Carrefour China sale first emerged last week, Carrefour denied a sale was on the agenda. When asked for further comment by Reuters relating to BNP Paribas’ appointment, a spokeswoman said: “There is nothing particularly new to say about the matter.”
The first Carrefour China supermarket was opened in 1995 when the French company was one of the first foreign retailers to enter the market. Since then it has opened about 245 stores, mostly large-format hypermarkets.
While actively scouting for an investor in the business – and a local Chinese business would add value far beyond just cash – Carrefour is also taking a watching brief on discussions over the sale of rival operator Metro AG’s Chinese business.