French chain Carrefour is rethinking all its activities in China and Taiwan, says the Wall Street Journal. The distributor is either going to bring its activities to the exchange in Hong Kong separately, or go into a partnership with a (local) partner. The operation could make the French company about 1 billion dollar (about 750 million euro) richer.
Take with caution
The news should however be taken with the necessary caution: the business paper says theproject is in a very early stage and Carrefour is not yet working with a business bank.
French LSA is also pointing out that the Chinese activities are not officially on display and it says CEO George Plassat said that “major divestments are behind us”. To the question whether they were going to divest more assets, he answered: “Will we remain in the same situation everywhere? That is not certain. But I have no need, nor do I want to, monetize any important assets.”
Number 4 in China
According to that same source Carrefour wants to use the money from the operation to speed up its expansion on the Chinese market. Euromonitor's stats show that the French giant only has a market share of 6.9% in the vast country: in 2006 that was 9.1% - a trend CEO Plassat wants to turn around as soon as possible.
At the moment Carrefour is the number four in China, with sales of 6.4 billion euro in 2012 (8% of company sales). Market leader, Sun Art Retail Group, is almost twice as big in China, with a market share of 13.6%.