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Retail

French Finance Minister Vows To Defend Staff At Groupe Casino

By Reuters
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French Finance Minister Vows To Defend Staff At Groupe Casino

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has vowed to defend staff at debt-ridden supermarket retailer Groupe Casino, amid fears of job losses that could arise from a restructuring at the company.

"The workers of Casino should not have to pay the price for the strategic errors of the company's management. I am by the side of the staff, I met the trade unions and I am there to defend the staff," Le Maire told French parliament.

"Our key concern is the centre at Saint Etienne. That is the engagement I have made, to keep the headquarters at Saint Etienne," added Le Maire.

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.

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.

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Casino said last month it had received preliminary, indicative offers from several buyers for an unspecified number of hypermarkets and supermarkets it had put up for sale.

Earlier this week, the French supermarkets group said that the Paris commerce court had extended a protection procedure it had entered into in October to help finalise a deal to restructure its debt by a further two months.

Trade unions fear that Casino could be dismantled if the French hyper and supermarkets are sold, and Sophie Binet, head of the hard-left CGT union, urged Macron's government to intervene.

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