Mergers News

UPDATE 1-Wal-Mart still eyes Russia after local head quit

* Says Stephan Fanderl left to pursue other interests

* Sees “significant investment opportunities” in Russia

* To name a successor at a later time

(Adds quotes, detail, background)

MOSCOW/SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 17 (Reuters) - U.S. retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc WMT.N said it was continuing to explore investment opportunities in Russia after the head of its Moscow office resigned.

“Stephen Fanderl left the company more than a month ago. Wal- Mart still considers the Russian market to be promising, and its Russian team continues to study opportunities,” spokesman Konstantin Dubinin told Reuters on Tuesday.

The world’s largest retailer hired Fanderl in April last year to explore opportunities in Russia and neighbouring markets.

The company has been linked to multiple potential conquests, although none of them has so far materialised, and Russian business daily Kommersant wrote that Fanderl resigned because of Wal-Mart’s failure to expand into Russia during his tenure.

The move comes after French rival Carrefour's CARR.PA October decision to pull out of Russia just four months after entering the market after having failed to identify any growth or acquisition prospects. [ID:nLF662106]

“We do not comment on market rumours,” Dubinin said when asked whether Fanderl’s resignation could be linked to the Carrefour exit from the Russian market.

Wal-Mart said Fanderl was leaving Wal-Mart “to pursue other interests”.

“We believe that the Russian market offers significant investment opportunities, and our Moscow office and organization will remain in place to continue their work in identifying the appropriate means to enter the market. A successor will be named at a later time,” spokesman Kevin Gardner said.

Fanderl could not be reached for comment. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Nicole Maestri; editing by Simon Jessop)