Carrefour: The imminent exit has been prophesied by the blue arrow in the logo

The blue right arrow in Carrefour logo must be signifying the exit sign. Groan. I'll miss enjoying 5% cash rebate when I pay the stuff there using POSB Everyday Card. Anyway, check out the Carrefour Singapore website for special exit offer. Coming soon, I believe. Heh.

Carrefour has launched the sale of units in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, in a deal that could raise around $1 billion for the French retailer.

Carrefour is working with investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS on the auction, which is expected to generate interest from both corporate buyers and private equity firms, the sources said on Monday.

Carrefour, Goldman and UBS declined to comment.

The sources declined to be identified as the sale process was still not public. The auction is in its early stages, the sources said, and like any sale process could change at any time.

Carrefour, the world's second-biggest retailer, has exited Japan and Korea over the years to focus on bigger and fast-growing markets such as India.

The French group, like many other retailers in Europe and the United States, has been struggling due to challenging economic conditions.

The asset could be attractive for other global retailers that are expanding into Asia, the sources said.

Indonesia's Para Group, which has banking, media and retail interests, has said it aimed to raise more than $350 million from a global bond this year to buy a 40 percent stake in Carrefour's local unit.

Trans Corp, the media, entertainment, lifestyle and retail unit of Para Group, wants to increase its stake in PT Carrefour Indonesia from 40 percent to 100 percent.

From Asiaone, "Carrefour to exit Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia".

Update on 07/07: Confusion as Carrefour said it's not closing stores in Singapore & Malaysia.

Carrefour said it is not closing any of its stores in Singapore and Malaysia. In a statement, the company said it is "business as usual" for every store in the two countries.

It also said it had recently opened four hypermarkets in Malaysia this year and plans another four by year end.

Earlier this week, there was speculation that the French supermarket giant was in the early stages of selling its outlets in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Reports had said Carrefour could be offloading its Southeast Asian assets for up to US$1 billion.

In May, Carrefour's CEO Lars Olofsson said he was open to offers for the company's operations in markets where it isn't in the top two spots.

Analysts cited Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore as likely candidates.

They added that the sale of assets in these countries would make sense as the company has other priorities for investment.

Under Mr Olofsson's direction, Carrefour has focused efforts on its key European markets -- France, Spain, Italy and Belgium.

France alone accounts for nearly half of the company's annual revenues.

The fast-growing China and Brazil markets have also been priorities for the company.

Reports also said that the British supermarket chain Tesco was interested in Carrefour's stores in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Other firms in the running for Carrefour's shops in Thailand and Malaysia are said to be Big C Supercenter PCL, Dairy Farm International and Japanese supermarkets.

Analysts said if a single buyer emerges for all three countries, the deal will probably be wrapped up this year.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Carrefour says not closing any stores in Singapore, Malaysia".


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