Joint venture promises 200 stores
Europe's leading retailer Carrefour is poised to expand into India with a joint venture to open up to 200 stores with Dubai's Landmark Group.

Landmark chief executive Micky Jagtiani told Reuters today that Landmark's India division, Lifestyle International, was in the early stages of talks to buy a Carrefour franchise.

Jagtiani added that the discussions could conclude as early as next month and that Landmark was also talking to two other unidentified retailers about developing outlets in India.

The news came as retailing-to-catering company Alpha Airports Group revealed that it is on the verge of signing a joint venture agreement with India's largest retailer, Pantaloon Retail, to dramatically increase its presence in the sub-continent.

The British company hopes to capitalise on the booming popularity of flying for Indians by expanding from its existing retail business at Cochin International Airport to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai.

The company said that it was already in discussions with Pantaloon and three of the airports and that Mumbai was 'expected to issue its requests for proposals shortly'.

Alpha Airports chief executive officer Peter Williams said: 'India has the most exciting passenger growth and airport development worldwide - This gives us a wonderful opportunity to leverage our strong position in the Indian sub-continent.'

Pantaloon has more than 100 outlets across India with 3.5 million sq ft (325,150 sq m) of retail space. The company's latest figures reveal a turnover of US$440 million (£211.7 million).

The news follows last Thursday's deal with Manchester Airport when Alpha extended its contract to operate retail outlets at the airport by 10 years, a move it hoped would generate revenue of£800 million.

Last week, Alpha posted a 34 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to£8.3 million for the six months to the end of July, on turnover of£278.9 million - a rise of 3.8 per cent.

The group added that accounting problems earlier this year, which resulted in its shares being suspended for nearly three months, were 'all done, dusted, gone [and] happened'.

Alpha was investigated over a credit note that it wrote for one of its clients and, although the accounts were found to be in order, the move was followed by the resignation of chief executive Kevin Abbot and finance director Heather McRae.

Chairman Graham Frost stepped down when the group re-listed on the stock exchange in July. An appointment is expected at the end of this month or in early November.