Carrefour, the French retailer, is seriously considering exiting Latin America, one of its most lucrative markets, under pressure from top shareholders, Le Monde newspaper reported in a preview of its Thursday edition.
However in a press release Carrefour denied the company was considering such move: "Carrefour group is not in the habit of commenting on rumors, but given their recurrence, Carrefour denies the sale of its businesses in growth markets," the group said this morning.
In the press release, Carrefour names Brazil one of its priorities in the medium- and long-term: "Carrefour's strategy was fully approved by its board of directors. The strategic orientations presented last March remain unchanged. The Group's geographic priorities are France, the other G4 countries and, in the medium- and long-term, growth markets, and particularly Brazil and China," the communiqué said.
The press release did not mention Argentina, Colombia or Uruguay other Latin American countries in which Carrefour is implemented.
Le Monde mentioned that the board of the world's second-biggest retailer had previously rejected the idea of abandoning all emerging markets including Asia as this would give the impression the company was being broken up.
Carrefour is expecting to receive two offers for its businesses in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, including one from larger rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Le Monde said, citing an unnamed person close to Carrefour's directors.
This interest from Wal-Mart had already been published by French newspaper Le Figaro on September 29. However, a source close to the matter told Reuters the report was "completely inaccurate". Carrefour and Carrefour shareholder Blue Capital declined to comment on the report.