The two groups formalized the operation on Monday, evoking an "enterprise value of 209 million euros including service stations".

The two food distribution specialists, respectively seventh and third player in the sector, had agreed in May on a sale of 119 stores in two waves involving 4,000 employees, with an optional third of sixty stores.

They indicate Monday that the operations "were carried out on September 30" and that Casino "has cashed the sale price", while Les Mousquetaires have "already taken possession of 58 of the 61 points of sale sold".

Regarding the stores of the second wave of transfers, which must take place "within a maximum of three years", "the group Les Mousquetaires acquired a non-controlling stake of 49% in these points of sale and paid to Casino, on September 30, 2023, a first lump sum payment of 140 million euros", specify the companies.

This sum will be deducted "from the final price calculated on the basis of the market value of the assets".

Supply Agreement

This agreement also provides for an extension of their partnerships to purchasing, in particular through a supply agreement "from the tidal and butchery sectors" of the Musketeers, which have the particularity of having a large agri-food production network.

The transaction is part of a troubled context for Casino, plagued by an unsustainable debt that it must restructure as part of a conciliation period with its creditors, recently extended until October 25 by the Paris Commercial Court.

In an Intermarché supermarket in Bourg-Achard, Eure, May 18, 2023 © JOEL SAGET / AFP/Archives

At the end of July, the group's key creditors had committed "to support and carry out any step or action reasonably necessary" for Casino to restructure its debt, and thus to accept the takeover offer of the Czech Daniel Kretinsky and his allies, the billionaire Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière and the British fund Attestor.

This offer provides for the contribution of 1.2 billion euros of new money and the reduction of nearly 5 billion euros of the group's debt, as well as the sale of the Casino activities in Latin America for which three-quarters of the group's 200,000 employees work.

"In October"

In the immediate future, the passage under the "Intermarché or Netto" banner of the first 61 stores is planned "in October", the time necessary for the work of changing the sign. It is specified that a store in Confrançon, in the Ain, "will be the subject of a subsequent transfer".

Ten hypermarkets are concerned: three in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (Albertville, Chasse-sur-Rhône, Vals-près-le-Puy), four in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (Besançon, Chalon-sur-Saône, Fontaine-lès-Dijon, Lons-le-Saunier), one in Centre-Val de Loire (Tours La Riche), one in Hauts-de-France (Amiens) and one in Nouvelle-Aquitaine (Poitiers).

The stores sold are spread throughout the country, with a greater number in the south-west and east of the France, on an axis from Charleville-Mézières in the Ardennes to Bernis in the Gard, via Firminy in the Loire, not far from the historic headquarters of the brand founded 125 years ago by Geoffroy Guichard in Saint-Etienne.

The operation is a cause for concern for the employees concerned. They fear worse working conditions at Intermarché, after 15 months of transition where they will keep their social gains. Within the group of self-employed, social policy depends on each shop owner.

In recent weeks, some trade unions had also complained to AFP that most of the employees concerned by the transfer did not yet know, three weeks before the change of signs, their future working hours.

© 2023 AFP