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MEXICO CITY, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Retailer Grupo Comercial Chedraui, Mexico's No.3 supermarket chain, is exploring possible acquisitions at home, the company's chief executive said on Thursday, declining to comment on reports that the firm is seeking to acquire rival Comerci.
The purchase of Comerci would turn Chedraui into Mexico's second largest supermarket chain in terms of sales, though analysts caution it would raise Chedraui's debt burden and could force it to issue capital and dilute its shares.
"In Mexico we are exploring possible consolidation opportunities," chief executive Antonio Chedraui told a conference call with analysts. "I cannot make any specific comments regarding any types of consolidation possibilities at this moment."
"We don't want to be with our debt ratios over two times in the long-term. In the short-term, we could take more debt but we would have to look for other possibilities to finance any possible acquisition beside debt," he added.
Chedraui said on Wednesday its third-quarter profit climbed 8.7 percent as sales across its stores picked up.
Shares in Chedraui were up 0.29 percent at 41.96 pesos each in Thursday afternoon trade. (Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Editing by Grant McCool)