The market has responded coolly to Carrefour‘s proposal to spin off its Dia and Carrefour Property businesses, with shares in the French retail giant dipping following the announcement.

Carrefour intends to spin off the whole of its Dia discount business and 25% of its Carrefour Property unit in the form of two special dividends payable to the retailer’s shareholders.

The move follows mounting pressure from activist investors, including the likes of Groupe Arnault – the private investment vehicle of Bernard Arnault – and US private-equity firm Colony Capita, for Carrefour to unlock the value of its assets and increase shareholder returns.

However, concerns that the proposal will fail to create significant value caused shares in the company to dip following the announcement, falling from an open of EUR35.99 (US$49.74) yesterday to EUR34.84 at 11:15 GMT this morning.

In a note to investors, RBS analysts predicted that earnings per share for fiscal 2011 would be diluted by 14% but investors would get around EUR7 worth of Carrefour Property and Dia shares or 20% of the group’s current equity value.

“On the one hand, on our maths, investors may get new paper worth just over EUR7 per share, or 20% of the current Carrefour equity value, but the existing paper would see EPS dilution of c14% ie a net gain of 6% or EUR2 per share,” the analysts wrote. “We struggle to see how this move will create significant incremental value.”

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In addition to the special dividend Carrefour will end its partially completed buyback programme, further undermining benefits to investors.

“This will likely be something of a disappointment to shareholders, highlighting the ongoing capital requirements of the core business,” analysts at Bernstein Research suggested.

Likewise, Bernstein analysts concluded that the proposals would create limited value.

“Clearly these transactions ‘create value’ to the extent that investors are willing to put higher multiples on the profits of the newly listed business, without a correspondingly lower multiple on the remaining business,” they wrote. “Beyond the potential ‘multiples arbitrage’ it is difficult to see how these transactions create value.”