November 20, 2012 / 7:21 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Carrefour divests Indonesia unit stake to partner for $673 mln

* CT Corp paying $673 mln for 60 pct stake

* Latest move by Carrefour to cut Asia footprint

* CT Corp secures $750 mln loan to buy the stake

* Carrefour shares climb 1.5 pct in early trade

By Christian Plumb and Fathiya Dahrul

PARIS/JAKARTA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Carrefour is selling its 60 percent stake in its Indonesian supermarket operations to local partner CT Corp for $673 million, the latest move by the European retailer to retreat from secondary markets.

The world’s No. 2 retailer after Wal-Mart Corp has been reducing its presence elsewhere in Asia, part of a plan to cut debt and refocus on core operations. It sold its Malaysian operations last month to Aeon, Japan’s No. 1 supermarket operator, and has said it would close its two stores in Singapore.

CT Corp, a conglomerate with banking and media interests, told Reuters in July it was in talks to acquire the rest of the supermarket chain, in which it was already a 40 percent stakeholder.

Under the deal announced on Tuesday, CT Corp will retain exclusive rights to use the Carrefour brand in Indonesia under a license agreement with the French company.

The Indonesian group, which also has retail investments in Thailand, said it has secured a $750 million, three-year bridge loan from 10 banks, including Credit Suisse and JPMorgan, to finance the deal.

Carrefour shares were up 1.5 percent in early Paris trade on Tuesday after the announcement of the deal.

Carrefour Indonesia has about 85 stores across the archipelago, but has faced stiff competition from local mini markets.

Chairul Tanjung, founder and chairman of CT Corp, told a news conference in Jakarta the unit needs to significantly improve its sales and profits and could then target an IPO. (Writing by Janeman Latul; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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