Delhaize has confirmed its interest in acquiring Carrefour's Belgian supermarkets should the French retail giant sell its operations or quit the market.

Posting a lacklustre set of results for fiscal 2008 at the beginning of this month, Carrefour CEO Lars Olofsson said that the company would evaluate its operations in a number of developed European markets, including Belgium.

This news has sparked speculation that the company could be preparing to pull out of the Belgian market. However, Carrefour has remained silent on the progress of its review.

According to a spokesperson for Delhaize, the company has flagged its interest in Carrefour's operations for the past six months.

"If and when the opportunity were to arise, we would be interested in looking at Carrefour's supermarkets. They operate along very similar lines to us - with company owned and franchised supermarkets… and they have some very good locations in Belgium. We would not be interested in their hypermarket business," the spokesman revealed.

"We have not changed our position: we have been saying this for the last six months," he added.

Were Carrefour to put some or all of its stores on the block, Delhaize could face some stiff competition from CVC Capital Partners. The private equity firm has also signalled its interest in the stores, according to newspaper De Standaard.

CVC was unavailable for comment as just-food went to press.