French casino chain widens loss to €5.7bn last year


The French retailer Casino, whose takeover was agreed by a consortium of companies around Czech businessman Daniel Křetínský, deepened its losses last year. The debt-laden supermarket and hypermarket chain said today that its consolidated net loss was nearly 5.7 billion euros, compared with a loss of 316 million euros a year earlier.


The company said restructuring costs as well as operating losses at its large hypermarkets due to fierce competition contributed to the deterioration. The group also said it did not intend to publish an updated outlook for the current year in view of the impending change in management.

The French chain came to the brink of insolvency last year as a result of its long-term business strategy, which was built on acquisitions using credit financing. However, the company has been gradually losing market share to its competitors and accumulating debts.

A new management team will now be formed around Křetínský. The Paris commercial court on Monday approved Křetínský’s rescue plan as part of an accelerated protection procedure.


The retailer has already reached an agreement with French rivals to sell 288 supermarkets and hypermarkets in France. It was left with the premium Monoprix brand and its Franprix stores in city centres.

Casino says that, in view of the divestment of these stores, the outlook from last November, in which the company outlined the development of underlying earnings for its operations in France, no longer applies. The group had net financial debt of 6.2 billion euros at the end of last year, compared with €4.5 billion at the end of the previous year.

Křetínský operates in many sectors of the economy. He controls a number of industrial, commercial, financial or media companies in the Czech Republic and abroad. In France, among other things, he is significantly involved in the energy sector.

Founded in 1898, Casino has been a key food retailer in France and Latin America to date, with more than 12,000 stores in total. The Casino group employs around 50,000 people in France and around 208,000 worldwide.

Source: ČTK


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