French retail giant Carrefour has confirmed its plans to invest up to US$100m over the next five years to develop a hypermarket business in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia.

An investment framework was agreed during the VII International Investment Forum in Sochi.

Carrefour said that Krasnodar is a region with "considerable economic potential" and a favourable investment climate.

"It will be one of the first regions in Russia where [the] Carrefour business will operate," Carrefour CEO Jose Luis Duran said.

Under the investment project Carrefour will open several hypermarkets and retain the option to open other store formats in the future. 

Local authorities in the Krasnodar region have pledged to support the Carrefour venture by finding suitable land plots for lease or purchase and connecting stores to the municipal infrastructure.

The first Carrefour hypermarket in the region will be located in the shopping mall on Stasovoy Street in Krasnodar city, the company revealed. The store opening is scheduled for the beginning of 2009.

Meanwhile, Carrefour declined to comment on reports that it is looking to buy local retail chain Lenta.

Financial sources have said Carrefour is one of the front-runners in a race that is also said to include rival international retailer Wal-Mart.