SAO PAULO-Paris-based Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer and Europe’s largest, has agreed to buy locally based Atacadao for approximately $1.1 billion USD. The acquisition, which requires regulatory approval, will make Carrefour the largest food retailer in Brazil, which has the biggest economy in South America.

Atacadao operates 34 discount hypermarkets in Brazil, and 17 of them are located in the Sao Paulo state. The stores encompass 2.3 million sf of retail space. According to Carrefour, Atacadao produced net sales of $2 billion USD in 2006 and held a 4% market share.

On the close of the deal, the Atacadao units will join Carrefour’s existing 109 hypermarkets, 34 Carrefour Bairo, and 258 Dia hard discount stores in Brazil. They, according to a Carrefour statement, had total net sales of nearly $5.2 billion USD in 2006.

“With this transaction, Carrefour Brazil becomes the number one food retailer in terms of sales,” according to the Carrefour statement. “The acquisition forms part of Carrefour’s strategy to reinforce its presence in key growth markets through a locally adapted multi-format approach.”

Jose Luis Duran, CEO of Carrefour Brazil, said the acquisition would bring “significant synergies” and add nearly 2% to total group sales in this country. According to published reports, the Atacadao buy will bring Carrefour’s overall market share above 17%, which is a larger share than either of its chief rivals in Brazil, which are Wal-Mart and Companhia Brasileira de Distribuicao, a locally based grocery store owner.

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