Europe's largest retailer Carrefour SA yesterday (8 March) posted a 57.6% hike in annual profit after cutting prices in France and strong sales in Latin America and Asia.

The announcement came one day after the company ousted its chairman Luc Vandevelde after a reported disagreement with the Halley family, Carrefour's biggest shareholder.

Net income for the Paris-based retailer was EUR2.27bn (US$3.0bn), up from EUR1.44bn the previous year, helped by gains from the sale of a Korean unit last year. Revenues rose 6.6% in 2006. 

The company forecast a 10% increase in sales in 2008, as long as it makes "the expected level of tactical acquisitions."

It was also revealed that billionaire Bernard Arnault, chief executive officer of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA and France's richest man, has teamed up with US private-equity firm Colony Capital to buy a 9% stake in Carrefour.