Casino guichard: casino creditors are getting impatient, dealer is still unscrewing on the stock market

Casino guichard: casino creditors are getting impatient, dealer is still unscrewing on the stock market

(BFM Bourse) – Casino is adrift in the stock market. The title of the distributor falls to a new historic low, while Casino’s main creditors are concerned about its level of indebtedness. They want strong action to speed up the group’s restructuring, BFM Business reveals.

The fall never ends for Casino. At 8.83 euros at around 3:15 p.m., more than 6.8% less than the previous day, the distributor’s title simply trades at a level never before reached, at least in “recent” stock market history (we go back until 1999, but the Saint-Etienne company was already listed at the beginning of the 20th century). Since January, the stock has plunged 62%

The financial situation of the distributor Casino, which is worth less than one billion euros on the Stock Market, is once again on the table. The group, which has been experiencing financial difficulties for several years, has been immersed since 2018 in a plan to sell assets considered “non-strategic” worth 4,500 million euros. Its deadline, initially set for March 2021, has been postponed “at the latest by the end of 2023”, the execution of this plan having been delayed due to the pandemic. With the forthcoming sale of its subsidiary GreenYellow, the group should recover 600 million euros.

A great debt to bear

But this sale will not allow Casino to pay off a debt that continues to grow. It peaks at €7.5bn in the first half of 2022, as BFM Business notes. Investors are skeptical about the Saint-Etienne group’s ability to meet its debt reduction commitments. Including its main banks that are starting to get seriously impatient. Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas and Natixis are urging the distributor behind the scenes to speed up its restructuring, explains BFM Business.

Wall and non-strategic subsidiary disposals are no longer enough to silence the “silent” complaints of creditors. The latter now ask for an acceleration of the pace with the sale of subsidiaries in South America. “In January 2024, a debt of 800 million euros must be settled and this time the banks will not postpone the deadline,” adds BFM Business.

The high-leverage deal that allowed Jean-Charles Naouri to control Casino through a cascade of stakes ended up showing its limits. The weight of the debt was such in 2019 that it led to the placement of its parent company Rallye under a safeguard regime. Casino then was not concerned. “Now the entire galaxy is in the crosshairs of investors, while the group is now worth less than a billion euros on the stock market. And the French banks, which have lent to all the floors of the building, are stagnant”, reveals BFM Business.

Two options under consideration

Several banks are maneuvering to present strategic options in relation to Casino. They would be concentrated “around a new approach in France with Monoprix, Franprix and CDiscount”. “The strong method would be to support the group with one of its competitors, Carrefour or Auchan”, the only way to “recover as much money as possible”, says a manager of a Casino bank.

“The other option, softer, aims to forge an alliance in France, without forcing Jean-Charles Naouri to sell Casino,” continues BFM Business. “The consolidation of the French activities allows a partner to contribute cash,” explains a relative of the CEO to BFM Business, whose scenario is “seriously studied by a French bank.”

The question of the succession of Jean-Charles Naouri, 73, has never been raised. Without an internal heir, surrender also arises. Creditors also want to put “this taboo subject” on the agenda to speed up Casino’s restructuring.

Sabrina Sadgui – ©2022 BFM Bourse

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