DUESSELDORF/PRAGUE, May 30 (Reuters) - German retail group REWE is expected to announce an agreement to buy a majority stake in Czech tour operator EXIM Tours, a source close to the deal said on Wednesday.
EXIM, set up in 1993 by Tunisian entrepreneur Ferid Nasr, is one of the central European country's leading tour agencies.
EXIM Tours spokesman Stanislav Zima said the company was in talks but did not confirm the buyer.
"We are in talks on something I would call a merger," he said.
He said both sides of the deal would speak at a news conference on Thursday.
REWE was not available for comment on Wednesday. The group is, however, also due to hold a news conference for its tourism division on Thursday.
Czech daily Hospodarske Noviny said on its website www.ihned.cz that several sources have confirmed REWE has signed the deal to buy the Czech firm.
Germany-based retail and travel group REWE had sales of 48.4 billion euros in 2011, of which 4.6 million euros came from its tourism division. The unit competes with the likes of TUI Travel and Thomas Cook.
REWE operates retail chains in the Czech Republic under the Billa and Penny brands.
EXIM Tours had turnover of 3.5 billion crowns ($168.88 million) in 2010, had around 250 employees and serves over 250,000 customers per year. ($1 = 20.7242 Czech crowns) (Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Jason Hovet; Writing by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)