French retail giant Carrefour has formed a strategic alliance with Colombian retailer Mercadefam with a view to acquiring the company, a spokesperson for Carrefour has told just-food.

Mercadefam is a local retailer based in the Santander region of Colombia.

The acquisition would see Carrefour add three hypermarkets, three pharmacies and a supermarket currently operating under the Mercadefam banner to the 50 hypermarkets and 29 pharmacies that it already runs in Colombia.

Carrefour said that Mercadefam offers "an excellent business model" and emphasised its commitment to the company's heritage.

"We are proud that, through this agreement, we will be able to combine our business model with that of Mercadefam, which has touched the hearts and minds of the Santander public. We intend to respect the foundations on which this company has been built and, for its thousands of customers, will try to keep everything that has made Mercadefam an integral part of family life in Santander", Franck Pierre, chairman of Carrefour Colombia, said in a statement.

Carrefour told just-food that the strategic alliance will see the groups pool their knowledge of retailing and the Colombian market as well as distribution and supply chain capabilities.

"Mercadefam has a fantastic understanding of the Santander region and its consumers and this will be invaluable," a spokesperson for the group explained.

Carrrefour declined to comment on the financial details of the transaction or provide information on when the deal is expected to go through.

The Colombian trade and industry watchdog has already approved the acquisition.