President Hugo Chavez said he is considering an offer for his government to enter a partnership with French retailer Casino, whose chain of Exito hypermarkets were expropriated earlier this month for allegedly exploiting a currency devaluation to raise prices.

Chavez said representatives of the French group “calmly came to talk” with members of his administration after the expropriation. “They came with a proposal to form a partnership … I’m evaluating it,” the leader said in a TV and radio broadcast to the nation.