Casino shareholders, creditors clear accelerated protection plan

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PARIS, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Casino shareholders and creditors on Thursday gave the green light to a plan led by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky to bail out the debt-ridden French retailer.

Sixteen out of 17 classes the shareholder and creditors were divided into to cast their votes – electronically and at a meeting held on Thursday – approved a draft protection procedure Casino entered into in October, Casino said in a statement on Friday.

The procedure allows its future leadership to finalise a deal to restructure the group’s debt and revive its business,

In December 2023, it was extended by two months to Feb. 25.

Casino shareholders (class 7) voted 98.87% in favour of the procedure, while it enjoyed far less success among EMTN, high yield and treasury bonds creditors (class 3), who voted 68.55% in favour, and creditors holding perpetual subordinated notes (class 6) of whom 75.62% voiced their approval.

A new leadership team formed around Kretinsky is set later this year to take control of France’s seventh-largest supermarket group by market share, which was brought to the verge of default after years of debt-fuelled acquisitions and recent losses in market share to rivals.

Current shareholders will be massively diluted under a restructuring deal which will end the 30-year reign of 74-year-old Jean-Charles Naouri, who controls Casino through his listed holding company Rallye.

Kretinsky’s consortium will own and control 53.7% of Casino’s share capital under the deal, which calls for 1.2 billion euros of new money to be injected into Casino, as well as a 6.1 billion euro reduction of Casino’s debt. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Piotr Lipinski; Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Kim Coghill)

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