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LONDON-In the first deal of its kind in retailing, Carrefour SA, the world’s second largest retail chain, will swap assets with Britian’s biggest retailer Tesco Plc in a transaction with a combined asset value of $388 million.

Under the terms of the deal, French retailer Carrefour will take over six Tesco outlets and two development sites in Taiwan valued at $159 million. In exchange, Carrefour SA will get 11 Tesco stores in the Czech Republic and four others in Slovakia valued at $229 million

It was the first time such a deal was done between the global retailers.

The swap will allow both retailers to exit countries where they have low market share and will allow them to focus on markets where they can gain dominant positions.

“This is a positive strategic move for Tesco which will allow us to focus on doing an even better job for customers in Central Europe and our other Asian markets.” Andrew Higginson, Tesco Group finance and strategy director, said in a statement announcing the asset swap. The trade will take Tesco out of the Taiwan market entirely. Higginson said Tesco has no plans to leave any other countries. Carrefour, France’s largest supermarket group and the world’s second largest retailer next to Wal-Mart, exited the Japan and Mexico markets earlier this year. Carrefour declined comment on whether it planned to pull out of more countries.

The deal, which is pending approval by the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission, will boost Carrefour’s market presence in that country from 33% to 40% and increase its store count from 36 to 42.

Tesco currently has 2,365 stores, the majority of which are located in the United Kingdom. It also has stores in Ireland, Hungary, Poland and Turkey along with Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan and China. Taiwan was the one country where its retail operation was struggling. Carrefour operates 6,546 stores in Europe, the United States and Asia.

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