Supermarket retailer Casino to sell 26 stores to Fortress

FILE PHOTO – A logo of French retailer Casino is pictured outside a Casino supermarket in Nantes, France, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) – French supermarket retailer Casino (CASP.PA), which is selling assets to reduce its debt, has agreed to sell 26 stores worth 501 million euros ($567 million).

Casino said it would sell a portfolio comprising hypermarkets and traditional supermarkets to Fortress Investment Group.

Casino will receive an initial 392 million euros from the sale in the first half of 2019 and could get a further 150 million euros in the next few years, the company said.

The deal will allow the company to achieved a target set out last year of 1.5 billion euros in asset sales and added it would examine further steps to cut its debt.

Casino had its credit rating cut to ‘junk’ by Standard & Poor’s in March 2016. Its shares fell nearly 30 percent in 2018, partly on concerns over its balance sheet and parent group Rallye’s (GENC.PA) ability to refinance its debt.

However, the stock has risen nearly 10 percent in 2019, helped by resilient sales figures published last week.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu