Carrefour prepares strategic review of its international operations

Company plans to sell subsidiaries in Poland and Taiwan, according to reports

Carrefour says it has ‘started a reflection on the critical mass of its international subsidiaries and possible future consolidation, alliances or divestiture moves’. Photograph: iStock

Carrefour says it has ‘started a reflection on the critical mass of its international subsidiaries and possible future consolidation, alliances or divestiture moves’. Photograph: iStock

 

Carrefour SA is preparing a strategic review of its international operations just months after the collapse of the French grocer’s merger talks with Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.

The company plans to sell subsidiaries in Poland and Taiwan, Challenges reported late Wednesday, without saying where it obtained the information.

Carrefour has “started a reflection on the critical mass of its international subsidiaries and possible future consolidation, alliances or divestiture moves,” a spokesman for the grocer said on Thursday, specifying that the review is at an early stage and no decision has been made on any sales.

The Polish grocery market is very challenging with intense competition, especially in general merchandise. Tesco Plc, Britain’s largest supermarket chain, completed the sale of its business in Poland to Danish retailer Salling Group A/S this year for about £165 million (€192m) to focus on its main UK market.

The review is “unlikely to move the needle” for Carrefour, Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital Markets, wrote by email. “It’s about showing Carrefour is alive to the wider activity and showing shareholders it is thinking about their interests at a time of considerable corporate activity in the large-cap grocery scene.”

The idea that Carrefour might want to exit Poland isn’t a new one, but “the issue with Poland is that there are no real buyers,” Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Fabienne Caron wrote in a note to clients. Carrefour generates about €1.8 billion of sales in Poland with low profit margins, Caron said.

Carrefour chief executive officer Alexandre Bompard, who took over in 2017, was forced to shelve the plan to merge with Couche-Tard after the French government opposed the deal.

Carrefour shares rose as much as 1 per cent to €17.13 on Thursday, still well below Couche-Tard’s initial bid of €20.