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Carrefour Sells Thai Stores

Retailer will net $1.19 billion for assets including 34 hypermarkets.

PARIS — Carrefour has agreed to sell its Thailand operations to Big C, a subsidiary of Groupe Casino, for 868 million euros, or $1.19 billion at current exchange rates.

 

Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said the move was in line with its strategy to focus on markets where it holds a leadership position.

 

The sale price corresponds to 120 percent of the net sales of the business and a multiple of 13 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Carrefour added.

 

The retailer operates 42 stores, including 34 hypermarkets, in Thailand, where it has been present since 1996. It is the fifth biggest organized food distributor in the country, with a market share of 6 percent and net sales of 723 million euros, or $1 billion, in the 12 months to June 30.

 

Big C is the second largest hypermarket operator in Thailand, with 69 hypermarkets and net sales of 1.7 billion euros, or $2.36 billion, in the year to June 30. Dollar figures are calculated at average exchange rates for the period in question.

 

Casino said the sale would allow Big C to become joint leader in the Thai hypermarket segment. “The transaction allows Casino to strengthen significantly its market position in one of its key countries,” said Jean-Charles Naouri, chief executive officer of Groupe Casino.

 

In related news, Carrefour said it would delay the implementation of its new Carrefour Planet concept in five additional stores in France from late this year until the first half of 2011. The concept has been implemented in two stores in France, two in Spain and one in Belgium, and should be rolled out to 500 stores across Europe by early 2013.

 

“We are satisfied by the encouraging results obtained in the five pilot stores in Europe. We are currently in a phase of optimizing the concept and its application,” the company said.

 

Shares in Carrefour closed up 0.9 percent at 37.95 euros, or $51.93, on the Paris stock exchange.