Czech Investor Kretinsky Takes Stake In France's Casino
Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky and his junior partner Patrik Tkac have acquired a 4.63% stake in Casino via their joint investment firm Vesa Equity Investment, the French retailer has said.
The Czech businessman, whose investments include a stake in daily newspaper Le Monde and a stake in German retailer Metro AG, described Casino as "one of the European leaders best placed to respond to the sector's profound transformation," according to the company's statement.
The move comes as Casino, headed by French retail kingpin Jean-Charles Naouri, sells assets to ease concern over its debt load and that of its parent company Rallye.
In May, Rallye received protection from creditors as they try to avoid the group's collapse.
Naouri welcomed the investment, immediately offering a board seat at the next shareholders meeting to Vesa Equity Investment.
Kretinsky and Tkac's investments in the European retail sector include a 17.52% stake in German retailer Metro AG with an option to increase its holding to 32.71% as well as a 40% stake in Mall group, an e-commerce player in central and eastern Europe.
Casino shares were trading up 5.3% to 43.14 euros at 0722 GMT but are still down 28% in the year-to-date.
"Today's news of a new investor entering the company's equity is welcomed by Mr Naouri and will please institutional shareholders. We doubt this is a prelude to change of control, but it will provide a strong backstop after a number of embattled months for the French group," Jefferies analysts said.