Commercial Court to Review Safeguard Plan this Monday

Commercial Court to Review Safeguard Plan this Monday

Paris commercial court is once again deliberating on the future of Casino, a distributor facing financial difficulties. The court is assessing an accelerated safeguard plan for the company, just a week after a first hearing was adjourned due to union requests.

The Central Social Economic Committee (CSEC) last week requested a delay in proceedings in order to incorporate a “social component” into the safeguard plan, which they argue is compulsory when considering job cuts. According to union estimates, up to 6,000 jobs could be at risk.

Since the safeguard plan was negotiated, the group has engaged in large-scale operations with competitors Auchan, Intermarché, and Carrefour, selling them 288 large stores, supermarkets, and hypermarkets. This will result in the transition of approximately 12,800 employees, and will have a significant impact on the support functions within the remaining group.

In July, the distributor signed an agreement that provided for a restructuring of its debt and a change in shareholding by March-April 2024. Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, Frenchman Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, and the British fund Attestor are slated to assume control at that time.

The group’s inter-union announced on Wednesday that voluntary departure plans have been promised by the consortium of buyers, although the specifics are still to be negotiated. The inter-union also stated that laid-off employees will receive “supra-legal” compensation, but they are awaiting a concrete commitment from the consortium on this.

The court has until the end of the accelerated safeguard period on February 25 to approve the plan. Afterward, capital increases are expected in March, followed by a general meeting of new shareholders to decide on the board of directors’ new composition. The sold stores will be transferred in three waves, scheduled for April 30, May 31, and July 1.

Following these changes, the company will still have a network of over 6,000 local stores under the Spar, Vival, or Le Petit Casino brands, representing a 1.5 billion euro turnover in 2022. The online retailer Cdiscount, a thousand Franprix stores with annual sales of 1.5 billion euros, and Monoprix will also remain part of the company.

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