(REUTERS) - Carrefour SA, the world's second largest retailer, is exploring a sale of its businesses in China and Taiwan, including a possible initial public offering in Hong Kong or a combination of some of those assets with another company, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.
An IPO route could represent around US$1 billion (S$1.28 billion) in funds, the Journal said, citing a source, adding that Carrefour's plans were still at a preliminary stage.
Carrefour has not hired bankers yet, The Wall Street Journal said, citing sources.
Carrefour declined to comment on the report.
The French group, which is Europe's largest retailer, has been struggling for years in Europe, partly due to a reliance on hypermarkets, which have been losing out as time-pressed shoppers buy more goods locally and online and prefer to buy general merchandise from specialists.
Carrefour has been exiting non-strategic markets to raise cash and to cut its debt. However, investors are concerned that the company is retreating from too many high-growth markets.