Majid Al Futtaim Holding, an operator of French retailer Carrefour SA outlets, plans to boost its presence in Kenya as it looks to expand into eastern and southern Africa.
Growing the franchise in Africa will boost competition for the likes of Shoprite, the continent’s biggest grocer, and Walmart's Massmart Holdings.
Those companies are looking to develop outside their home markets in South Africa, where stagnant economic growth is curbing consumer spending.
The Dubai-based company plans to enter as many as five markets in the next four years, country manager Franck Moreau said in an interview.
South Africa, which has the continent’s most developed retail market, is among the 12 African countries where the company may consider buying an existing entity, he said.
"We have already visited South Africa," Moreau said Monday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. "If we enter there, it will not be by creation, it might be by acquisition."
MAF, as the company is known, plans to add two more stores in Kenya by the end of the year and expects to open in at least one new market in East Africa in that period, he said.
"We are open to all different options," Moreau said. "If we have some information that some owner or group wants to sell, we are not closed, we will study it."
MAF operates in 15 countries. It entered Kenya in 2016 and has since grown the number of Carrefour stores it operates to seven, at a time when rivals including closely held Nakumatt Holdings and Uchumi Supermarkets have been forced to close outlets to cut debt.
The company also sees opportunity for its partnership with online retailer Jumia Technologies AG, which MAF is using to offer express deliveries in Kenya, Moreau said.