This is not the first time reports of plans by Carrefour to launch an IPO for its Brazil unit have surfaced

This is not the first time reports of plans by Carrefour to launch an IPO for its Brazil unit have surfaced

French retail giant Carrefour is understood to have hired to investment banks to prepare an IPO of its Brazilian operations.

According to a report by business magazine Exame, Carrefour has hired the investment banking unit of Credit Suisse Group and Itaú BBA, a unit of Brazil's biggest bank, Itaú Unibanco Holding, for the preparations.

The publication said a listing, which will include the Carrefour hypermarket brand and wholesale chain Atacadao, should take place in January.

Carrefour, Credit Suisse or Itaú BBA did not return a request for comment.

This is not the first time reports of plans by Carrefour to launch an IPO for its Brazil unit have surfaced.

Last month, Carrefour declined to comment on reports it was considering such a move. The retailer was said to have included Brazil in the group of emerging countries subject to analysis for an IPO of its subsidiaries worldwide, Brazilian publication Valor Economico wrote at the time. Reports also emerged in October last year.

Carrefour is the second-biggest retailer in Brazil, according to Exame. In 2012, the division recorded "continued strong growth" with sales up 1.2% to EUR12.54bn (US$16.75bn) and 7.7% on a like-for-like basis.