Carrefour hints at China float to follow Brazil

FRENCH retailer Carrefour has not ruled out listing its Chinese unit, chief executive Georges Plassat told the French daily Les Echos yesterday.

He said Carrefour could follow the same scenario as in Brazil, where it sold a 10 per cent stake in its business to billionaire Abilio Diniz last month, in a step towards a possible separate listing.

“We have a similar target in China, where he have worked for 20 years with local partners ... without ruling out the idea of a stock market listing,” he told the paper.

There was enormous potential in China, he said, where he expects the middle class will grow from 230m people to 630m in 10 years.

On Friday, Carrefour published fourth-quarter results boosted by its Brazilian and French operations, but trading conditions remained weak in China, amid slowing consumption and a government crackdown on lavish spending.

Thomson Reuters data could also cheer the company, with European retailers expected to benefit from the oil price slump, as consumers spend less at the pumps and more in the high street shops.

Carrefour stock closed down 0.2 per cent in trading yesterday, compared to the Stoxx Europe retail index, which was up 0.25 per cent.