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Carrefour Agrees to Sell Malaysia Retail Business to Aeon

Carrefour SA, France’s biggest grocer, agreed to sell its Malaysian operations to Aeon Co., Japan’s largest retailer, for 250 million euros ($324 million).

The sale was effective immediately, Boulogne-Billancourt, France-based Carrefour said in a Business Wire statement. Carrefour is the fourth-biggest retailer in Malaysia, where it had 26 stores and 400 million euros in sales in the 12 months through June 30, it said.

Carrefour is cutting jobs and exiting overseas markets it doesn’t dominate to generate cash and cut debt as part of a three-year turnaround plan formulated by Chief Executive Officer Georges Plassat. Aeon is expanding overseas amid a shrinking population in its home market.

Malaysia will become Aeon’s Southeast Asian headquarters, the company said in a statement today. The Japanese retailer plans to have 100 stores in Malaysia by 2020 as it ramps up expansion across the region.

“Asia is one of the very few areas where we can expect to see greater development as far as potential economic growth is concern,” Nagahisa Oyama, chief executive officer of Aeon’s ASEAN business told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today. More acquisitions are possible in Southeast Asia, he said.

Carrefour Deals

Carrefour has agreed to sell its Colombian stores to Chilean retailer Cencosud SA and plans to exit Singapore by the end of the year.

The French retailer may follow with more deals. CT Corp. is seeking $750 million of financing to buy the 60 percent of Carrefour’s Indonesian business that it doesn’t already own, people familiar with the matter said Oct. 29. Carrefour has also put its Polish and Turkish units under review and is considering a combination of the latter with competitor Migros Ticaret AS, according to people familiar with the situation.

Carrefour is preparing a $4.9 billion initial public offering of its Atacadao cash-and-carry unit, Veja magazine reported Oct. 27.

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