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Retail

Casino Agrees To Sell Big Stores To Rivals Auchan, Les Mousquetaires

By Reuters
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Casino Agrees To Sell Big Stores To Rivals Auchan, Les Mousquetaires

French retailer Casino has entered into exclusive talks to sell all of its big stores to Les Mousquetaires and Auchan Retail.

The deal to sell 313 hypermarkets and supermarkets is based on a fixed enterprise value of €1.35 billion ($1.47 billion), excluding real estate, Casino said in a statement. The stores represent total sales for 2022 of around €3.6 billion ex-VAT (excluding petrol), it said.

The sale would leave Casino with upmarket brand Monoprix as well as Franprix, which also focuses on city-centre stores.

"A group refocused on premium city-centre convenience stores will be more viable, as these are profitable and no longer burning cash," said Clement Genelot, analyst at Bryan Garnier.

Casino, which has warned of likely losses for 2023 for its core French business, is racing to finalise a bailout to avoid bankruptcy early next year.

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Casino has been losing market share to sector leader E. Leclerc as well as Les Mousquetaires and U supermarkets, according to Kantar data. Les Mousquetaires owns French retailer Intermarché as well as DIY chains Bricorama and Bricomarché.

Read More: What’s On The Menu For Casino In 2024? Analysis

New Leadership Team

A new leadership team formed around Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky is set to take control of Casino, which was brought to the verge of default after years of debt-fuelled acquisitions and losing market share to rivals.

The deal remains subject to a binding agreement between parties, which could be reached before end of the first quarter of 2024, Casino said.

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'The proceeds will be used to support the planned financial restructuring, investment in the retained perimeter, and social support for the concerned employees,' said Casino, which would retain control over its smaller shops.

Trade unions have said they fear Casino could be dismantled as its hyper- and supermarkets are sold.

The deal will be submitted subject to France's competition authority for approval, and should be finalised in the coming months, Auchan and Les Mousquetaires said in a statement.

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