French retail giant Carrefour has remained silent on reports that it is in talks with India's largest retailer, Pantaloon, to set up a joint venture in the country.

Rules on foreign direct investment in India prohibit foreign companies from owning multi-brand retail outlets, forcing international conglomerates to forge partnerships with local retailers.

According to a report in India's Business Standard, Carrefour is preparing to take a stake in Future Fashion Merchandise, a Pantaloon subsidy created following the restructuring of its retail operations.

However, Carrefour has remained tight-lipped on the issue.

"Carrefour and some Indian companies have been discussing partnerships but we do not want to comment on any of the companies we have been talking to," a spokesperson for the group told just-food.  
 
"Carrefour will develop its activities in India with the start of cash and carry activities at the end of 2009 or beginning of 2010," the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Pantaloon said that there was "nothing to discuss on the subject of Carrefour" as the company does not comment on "speculative issues".