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        French supermarket retailer Carrefour said on Friday that it would sell its stake in a Greek joint venture to its partner there, Marinopoulos, taking a 220 million euro ($277.12 million) non-cash charge.

        The move to exit Greece comes ahead of elections this Sunday that have emerged as a referendum on the European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout of the economically struggling country.

        It is one of the first decisions by newly named Chief Executive Georges Plassat, who is due to address shareholders for the first time on Monday amid hopes he will give some clues about his turnaround plan for the group.

        Carrefour said the sale would allow the joint venture, which also operates in Cyprus, «to meet the challenges of Greece’s prevailing economic environment."

        In addition to Greece, where Carrefour’s first-quarter sales plunged 16 percent, Europe’s biggest retailer is exposed to the troubled markets of Spain and Italy. [Reuters]

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