* Already raised 2.8 bln euros through asset sales
* More non-strategic sales seen raising 1.5-2 bln euros
* Partial listing in Brazil seen raising 1-2 bln euros
By Dominique Vidalon and Pascale Denis
PARIS, Nov 22 French retail giant Carrefour
has seen many changes since its former boss made an
ill-fated attempt to snap up Brazil's top supermarket chain last
year, and South America's top economy could light the spark for
Six months since he became chief executive of Europe's
biggest and the world's number two retailer, Georges "The
Cleaner" Plassat has lived up to his nickname, with a clearout
of businesses in non-strategic countries to raise cash to revive
its struggling hypermarkets.
More bold moves could be on the cards, including floating
part of the Brazilian business - already Carrefour's
second-largest market after France, making 13.5 percent of its
2011 sales of 91.5 billion euros - to fund expansion in one of
the world's largest and fastest-growing consumer markets.
Carrefour, which has raised 2.8 billion euros ($3.6 billion)
selling units in Indonesia, Colombia and Malaysia, could secure
another 1.5-2.0 billion from disposals in Turkey, Poland,
Romania and Taiwan, and a further 1-2 billion from listing a
minority stake in Brazil, analysts said.
"We believe the disposal plans are not over, although we do
not expect more divestments on such a large scale between now
and the end of the year," said Natixis analyst Pierre-Edouard
Boudot, adding a minority listing in Brazil "might make sense".
Carrefour is the second-largest operator in the Brazilian
food retail market, with a 13 percent market share, behind
leader Grupo Pao de Acucar (GPA), controlled by
Carrefour's archrival Casino, and just ahead of U.S.
retail giant Wal-Mart.
GPA's Brazilian chairman tried to merge with Carrefour
Brazil last year, despite a long relationship with Casino.
Casino derailed those plans and has since secured full control
A senior Paris-based banker said a Brazilian listing was a
"distinct possibility" to "free up capital".
Carrefour declined to comment.
Plassat took over as CEO on May 24 with a brief to reverse
years of underperformance in Carrefour's European markets,
notably in France, where it makes over 40 percent of sales.
As part of its strategy of raising cash to defend positions
in western Europe, China and Brazil and strengthen its balance
sheet, Plassat on Tuesday sold Carrefour's 60 percent stake in
its Indonesian operations to local partner CT Corp for 525
Last month it sold its Malaysian unit to Japan's Aeon
for 250 million euros and decided to quit Singapore by
the end of the year and pay 220 million euros to leave Greece,
where sales had been falling.
Plassat's biggest coup was a deal last month to sell
Carrefour's Colombian stores to Chile's Cencosud for a
higher-than-expected 2 billion euros.
Plassat's dealmaking skills and retail expertise have
already started to boost Carrefour's share price.
The stock has risen 43 percent since mid-July, outperforming
a 5.6 percent gain in the European retail sector index
pushing its market value to 12.8 billion euros.
"Plassat is certainly living up to his nickname, but if
Carrefour is to have a future, more markets will need to be
divested and more capital will have to be reinvested in the core
business," said Natalie Berg, head of research firm
Carrefour has said it was reviewing the future of its local
joint venture with Turkish partner Sabanci.
EYES ON BRAZIL
Carrefour is expected to reinvest the cash it has raised so
far mostly in its European business to boost capital
expenditure, which has fallen to an estimated 1.6-1.7 billion
euros in 2012, about 2 percent of sales, down from 2.3 billion.
Analysts have said this level barely covers the cost of
maintaining existing stores.
Carrefour also needs cash to cut debt, which was about 7
billion euros at end-2011, and sustain low prices in France to
boost traffic at its struggling hypermarkets.
More funds may be needed to boost expansion in China and
Brazil, though Plassat has yet to map out his plans there.
Chinese sales have struggled as economic growth slowed, but
Brazil has been a bright spot, recording like-for-like sales
growth of 9.7 percent in the third quarter of 2012.
Were Carrefour to step up expansion in Brazil, listing a
minority stake in the business might be a funding option.
"A potential IPO of Brazil could be feasible and would have
a very significant impact," Barclays analysts said in a note.
Barclays said floating 25 percent of the Brazilian business,
which it values at 4.7 billion euros, could raise 1.2 billion.
There have been unconfirmed reports in the Brazilian press
that Carrefour might seek to list a minority stake in its
Brazilian crown jewel, wholesaler Atacadao, which analysts say
makes about 50 percent of sales and profits in Brazil.
Proceeds from a listing could be reinvested to accelerate
the roll out of Atacadao, to diversify into convenience stores
or to make bolt-on acquisitions in Brazilian regions where
Carrefour's presence is still limited.
Cash could even be used to step up expansion elsewhere in
Latin America, such as Argentina, where Carrefour is second to
PlanetRetail analyst Gildas Aitamer said Atacadao needed to
speed up its store expansion in the face of fierce competition
from Wal-Mart's Maxxi Atacado and Casino's Assai stores.
Natixis estimates that an IPO of Atacadao could bring in 1-2
billion euros. Exane BNP, which values Atacadao at 5 billion,
said listing 20-25 percent could raise 1 billion euros.
Listing part of Atacadao would enable Carrefour to retain
control without jeopardising long-term growth prospects, but
some caution it could introduce additional complexity in group
structure and expose the lower profitability of the rest of the
Brazilian business, mostly the hypermarkets.
The same senior banker also said: "The danger is that it
creates a holding discount (on Carrefour shares), since the
emerging market is the most exciting part of the business."