French retailer Carrefour has reportedly said that it is in talks with as many as six Indian companies with a view to entering the market through a retail joint venture. A deal could be close, Indian reports have said.

"We are close to signing an agreement. We are in talks with five or six Indian groups," Dominique Coulombel, India-based sourcing manager for Carrefour, is quoted as saying by news agency AFP. "It is a matter of months."

This is the first confirmation that Carrefour is in talks to enter the Indian market after months of press speculation, with reports focusing in particular on the possibility of a tie-up between the French retailer and the Wadia group.

Carrefour was not available for comment at time of press.

Foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail stores is restricted in India, causing international retailers to scramble for Indian partners. Earlier this month telecom giant Bharti Enterprises announced plans to set up a grocery and consumer goods retail operation through a joint venture with the US's Wal-Mart.