September 29, 2011 / 2:20 PM / in 8 years

Carrefour small shareholder ends hunger strike

PARIS, Sept 29 (Reuters) - A longtime Carrefour critic who owns about 1,900 euros’ worth of shares in the company said on Thursday he had ended a 10-day hunger strike after meeting with the French retailer’s chief executive.

Xavier Kemlin had been camping in a tent outside Carrefour’s headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris to draw attention to “the dramatic situation (of the) ... bellwether of the French retail sector”, he told Reuters by phone.

Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer behind Wal-Mart , has lost 50 percent of its value this year following a string of profit warnings and strategy U-turns.

“I wanted to give the silent majority a voice in the face of the financial minority and say there is no more time to lose,” said Kemlin, owner of 110 Carrefour shares.

CEO Lars Olofsson, under pressure to revive the fortunes of a group, which is struggling in its core French market, briefly met with Kemlin outside Carrefour’s headquarters on Wednesday, a spokesman said, without providing further details.

Kemlin said Olofsson “thanked me” for his views.

Kemlin, who lives in Switzerland, is a great grandson of Geoffroy Guichard, the founder of Carrefour’s arch rival Casino .

He has been involved in a lengthy legal dispute with Carrefour tied to the terms of Carrefour’s purchase of retail group Hyparlo in 2006. Kemlin, who was an Hyparlo shareholder, said his strike action was not related to the Hyparlo dispute. (Editing by Will Waterman)

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