INDIA: Carrefour, Bharti "in talks" over tie-up
France's Carrefour is reportedly in talks with Bharti Group over a potential joint venture in India.
According to Indian publication The Economic Times, the companies are in "advanced talks" over the formation of a cash-and-carry venture in which Bharti would hold a majority stake.
The news comes after Bharti's joint venture with Wal-Mart was dissolved last October when the Indian conglomerate sold its 50% stake in the business to the US retailer.
Carrefour set up a wholesale unit in India in 2010 and there has been speculation that the French retailer could be preparing to exploit the easing of restrictions governing foreign direct investment in the retail sector through the establishment of a consumer-facing retail channel.
Carrfour chief executive Georges Plassat said the company was nearing a decision on how to proceed in India and hinted an announcement could be imminent as the group announced its full-year results last month.
Speaking to media in Paris, Plassat said: ""We are currently thinking about India. We have a small busines in India - it doesn't bring any losses or gains - but the true challenge is to know how to tackle India for the next 20 years," Plassat said. "The changes in the regulatory framework still mean this is a very complex, challenging country. I cannot tell you where we are because I don't know, to be honest. We are currently working on that. I think we will be able to answer your question in the next few months."
Carrefour and Bharti did not return requests for comment.
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