One of France's illustrious retail chains, Casino, is set to undergo a seismic transformation under the influence of Czech billionaire, Daniel Krětínský. Contrary to the original visions of its founder, Jean-Charles Naouri, the company is considering the sale of its largest stores ahead of Krětínský's planned bailout, a move that signifies a radical departure from Naouri's commitment to preserving the company's integrity whilst grappling with its towering debt.
Revisiting Casino's Bailout
Krětínský, who seized control of Casino amidst a court-supervised debt restructuring, has been in the crosshairs of rival bidders who accused him of potentially asset-stripping the retailer. Despite initial assurances to uphold the group's 'maximum possible, rational perimeter,' concerns about the feasibility of sustaining the stores emerged months ago, gradually morphing into a widely acknowledged reality.
Implications of the Sale
The impending sale of Casino's hypermarkets and supermarkets would lead to a profound downsizing of the company, with revenues projected to plummet from €33.6bn to approximately €7.5bn by 2025. Anticipated bidders for the stores include French food retailers and German discount chains, underscoring the urgency of the sale before Krětínský's €1.2bn recapitalization of Casino.
The Decline of Casino
This development underscores the swift decline of the business since the deal in July. Casino recently issued a profit warning, forecasting an operating loss of up to €140mn this year. Furthermore, despite prior commitments to safeguard employment, job cuts loom on the horizon, with over 2,000 positions at the headquarters in Saint-Etienne potentially at stake.