PARIS, March 7 (Reuters) - The initial public offering of Carrefour's Brazilian unit will take place in mid-2017, billionaire Abilio Diniz said on Tuesday, voicing confidence that Brazil's economy is emerging from the worst recession its history.
"Carrefour Brazil's IPO willl take place this year. I do not know yet if this will be towards the end of the first half or the beginning of the second half but it will happen," Diniz told reporters.
Diniz, whose family is the third-largest shareholder of French retailer Carrefour SA, was speaking after making a presentation at the Brazilian Embassy in Paris.
"Economic conditions in Brazil are improving. I am very optimistic on Brazil and investors are returning to the country," he added.
The recession has left millions unemployed and hundreds of companies bankrupted.
Diniz also chairs Brazilian food processor BRF SA , the world's largest poultry exporter.
The Diniz family is Carrefour SA's third-largest shareholder with an 8.05 percent stake, and Diniz has a seat on the board of the French retailer.
He and his family also bought a 10 percent stake in Carrefour's Brazilian unit in December 2014. Diniz one year later lifted that stake to 12 percent, with a further option to increase the holding to 16 percent over five years.
Carrefour has said it hoped to carry out an IPO for the unit this year. Industry observers have said Diniz's involvements as an anchor investor could help the plan in terms of visibility and future valuation. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)