PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) - French retailer Casino said on Thursday it was regrouping all its Latin America operations under Colombian unit Exito in a bid to accelerate growth and reduce debt.
The move comes as Casino, which makes 60 percent of its sales in emerging markets and controls Brazil's top retailer, Grupo Pao de Acucar, is having to cope with a slowing Brazilian economy.
As part of the deal, Exito will buy 50 percent of the voting shares held in Grupo Pao de Acucar by the Casino group and 100 percent of Libertad in Argentina for a total of 1.7 billion euros ($1.86 billion), Casino said in a statement.
Casino, which owns 54.8 percent of Exito, will remain its controlling shareholder and will continue to fully consolidate its subsidiaries Exito and GPA. ($1 = 0.9140 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by James Regan)