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France's Carrefour plans property sale as first-half net rises 3.3 percent

France's Carrefour plans property sale as first-half net rises 3.3 percent

French retail giant Carrefour unveiled plans to sell real estate assets and buy back up to euro4.5 billion (US$6.13 billion) in stock, as shareholders seek to change the company's strategy.
The world's biggest retailer after U.S.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. made the announcement as it reported a 3.3 percent rise in first-half net profit to euro729 million (US$994 million) compared with euro706 million a year earlier.
In a statement, Carrefour said it is planning an initial public offering of its Carrefour Property real estate unit next year. The unit will own about 60 percent of Carrefour's total property, worth an estimated maximum euro24 billion (US$32.71 billion).
Carrefour said it plans to keep an 80 percent stake in the company, allowing outside investors to buy around euro3 billion (US$4.09 billion) of assets.
The company will sell about euro1.5 billion (US$2.04 billion) in assets between 2007 and 2008, and cap capital expenditure at euro3 billion (US$4.09 billion) as part of a stricter capital allocation strategy.
The cash from the sales "will be returned mainly via share buybacks to maximize shareholder returns," Carrefour said in a statement.
Groupe Arnault and Colony Capital, a U.S. private equity fund, are both members of the Blue Capital consortium that shook up markets by taking a 9.1 percent stake in Carrefour earlier this year. That makes them the second-largest shareholders after the Halley family.
Carrefour shares gained 1.8 percent to euro53.08 (US$72.35) in late morning trading in Paris.
The company also said it is on track to meet full-year sales growth, but operating profit will grow at slower pace than revenue.
The first half profit increase was helped by faster growth abroad. First-half sales rose 5.5 percent to euro38.85 billion (US$52.96 billion).
Net profit from recurring operations edged up 0.1 percent to euro741 million (US$1.01 million), from euro740 million a year ago.
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Associated Press Writer Jenny Barchfield contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-04-18 15:56 GMT+08:00