French retailer Carrefour has said that it is not seeking a major acquisition in China in response to Wal-Mart’s reported plans to purchase Trust-Mart.
Trust-Mart owns 100 supercentres in China and has been valued at around US$1bn. If Wal-Mart’s Trust-Mart acquisition goes ahead, the US retailer would take Carrefour’s place as the largest foreign retail presence in the country. However, Wal-Mart has repeatedly declined to comment on rumours that it is on the acquisition trail in China.
According to a Reuters report, Carrefour chief executive officer Jose Louis Duran told reporters that Carrefour is most interested in organic growth in the market on a business trip to China with French President Jacques Chirac.
“We asked ourselves should we keep the emphasis on organic growth or take the risk of doing a large acquisition with all the problems and challenges of integration,” Duran reportedly said. “We are more interested in organic growth, and we will not deviate from that.”
This year, Carrefour aims to open at least 20 hypermarkets in China, which sell food and household goods. It will open its 84th hypermarket tomorrow (28 October), which is its 7th in Beijing and 1,000th in the world.
Duran said that Carrefour had considered bidding for Trust-Mart but decided against it because the company did not meet its criteria, Reuters reported.
Carrefour was unavailable for further comment.