The creditors and shareholders of the distribution group in great difficulty, called upon to decide on the safeguard plan negotiated in recent months, have unsurprisingly largely endorsed it, according to a press release from Casino, Friday January 12.

The group which, at the end of 2022, still had 200,000 employees worldwide, including 50,000 in France under various brands (Casino, Monoprix, Franprix or Cdiscount), spoke of “very broad support from shareholders and creditors” for “projects of accelerated backup plans” of the group. Casino shareholders, for example, approved the project by 98.87%.

The outcome of this consultation was hardly in doubt, to the extent that the current CEO, Jean-Charles Naouri, one of the architects of this rescue plan, is still the group’s main shareholder, and the candidates for the takeover Daniel Kretinsky and Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière are themselves major shareholders.

“Single solution” to “viable” the group

As for the creditors, the main ones had given their agreement several months ago to a safeguard plan made possible by the contribution of new money from the Czech billionaire and his allies, Fimalac and Attestor, a plan which provides for a strong crushing debt, around 5 billion euros, which will significantly harm them. But one of the judicial administrators at the bedside of the group placed in accelerated safeguard since October, Aurélia Perdereau, recalled Thursday that this plan is “the only solution on the table allowing us to make viable” a group in great financial distress.

Unsecured creditors, whose loans are not secured against an asset, will lose 99% of their stake, according to an independent report carried out by the company Sorgem and made public by Casino in December. And secured creditors, whose loans are secured on assets or shares, who will ultimately hold 43.9% of the group’s capital and are notably large banks active in France, will experience a haircut of around 23%. , according to the same source.

This vote was one of the stages of the group’s financial restructuring, expected for March or April and which must still obtain, in particular, the approval of various competition authorities “other than the European Commission” – which has given its approval green at the beginning of January on these questions –, the authorization of the Ministry of the Economy on foreign investments and of the European Commission on questions of foreign subsidies.

At the same time, Casino entered “in exclusive negotiations” with Intermarché and Auchan to sell “almost all” of its large store network, 313 hypermarkets and supermarkets.