India retail group eyes France

January 28, 2009

, NEW DELHI, Jan 28 – India’s largest retailer Future Group is in "advanced talks" with Europe’s largest retailer Carrefour for a joint venture to set up cash-and-carry outlets in India, a report said Wednesday.

A deal with Future, owner of India\’s leading Big Bazaar supermarket chain, could help the French firm realise its aim of entering India\’s young chain retail sector, people close to the talks said, the Economic Times reported.

Carrefour, which has in the past tried unsuccessfully to partner other Indian groups to set up in the country, initiated the talks with Future\’s founder and chief executive Kishore Biyani, the daily said.

The talks could result in a joint venture between Carrefour Wholesale Cash and Carry India Pvt Ltd and Big Bazaar, it said.

The tie-up would follow similar alliances between India\’s Bharti telecoms group and US Wal-Mart and the Indian tea-to-steel Tata Group and Britain’s Tesco, the paper said.

The discussions centre around creating a major supply-chain for all Future group stores and would enable the Indian firm to cut costs, the report said.

Biyani, whose Future Group has turnover of two billion dollars, pioneered organised or chain store retailing in India.

The two sides are considering such partnership options as an equity deal or a franchise model and are expected to hold more talks during the next few days, the paper said.

A Future group spokesman declined to comment when contacted by AFP. Carrefour could not be reached but the newspaper said it had also refused comment.

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