The French stock market policeman grants an exemption to Casino to restructure

A Casino supermarket, June 12, 2023 in Laventie, Pas-de-Calais (AFP/Archives/DENIS CHARLET)

The Financial Markets Authority (AMF) on Wednesday granted an exemption to the distributor in serious financial difficulties, Casino, which could allow a consortium led by billionaire Daniel Kretinsky to restructure its debt.

“The Financial Markets Authority granted, in its meeting of January 9, 2024, the exemption from the mandatory filing of a proposed public offer targeting the securities of the company Casino,” wrote the French stock market watchdog in a document issued public Wednesday.

The consortium will therefore not have to submit a proposed public offer for Casino shares.

To justify Casino’s “proven situation of financial difficulty”, the AMF invoked in its conclusions “the sharp deterioration in the group’s half-year results”, its very significant debt, as well as the existence of a successful conciliation procedure. when opening an accelerated backup procedure.

The financial restructuring of the group by foreign capital must still be authorized by the Ministry of the Economy, and the European Commission must give its approval on questions of foreign subsidies.

Casino signed an agreement in July providing for the restructuring of its debt and a change in shareholding by March-April 2024.

The judicial administrators at the head of the group have summoned shareholders and creditors “to decide” by January 11 “on the projects for an accelerated safeguard plan”.

They must in particular vote on Thursday on the capital increase project by the takeover candidates, which will greatly dilute current shareholders.

The plan also provides for a significant reduction in debt, around 5 billion euros, harming the group’s creditors.

At the same time, the Saint-Etienne distributor entered into “exclusive negotiations” in December with Intermarché and Auchan to sell “almost all” of its large store network, hypermarkets and supermarkets.

This worries the representatives of the group’s employees, who, united as an inter-union, have filed a new strike notice from January 9 to February 5, according to a press release from this inter-union (FO, CGT, CFDT, UNSA and CFE-CGC) on Monday .

© 2024 AFP

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