UPDATE 1-Muddy Waters target Casino pledges to cut debt, raise profit
* 2015 group operating profit down 35 pct, as expected
* French operating profit 337 mln euros vs 396 mln
* CFO expects Q1 performance in line with that Q4
* Shares in Casino down 1.28 pct at 0857 GMT (Adds CFO comments, details)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, March 9 (Reuters) - Retailer Casino responded to pressure from U.S. activist investor Muddy Waters with a renewed pledge to cut its debt using the proceeds from disposals and the promise of improved profits and cash flow.
Muddy Waters "shorted" Casino in December, saying the French group was "dangerously leveraged" and managed for the short term, sparking a share price fall.
Casino sought to address these concerns over its balance sheet, saying it would use cash from asset sales to reduce its borrowings, which totalled 6.1 billion euros at the end of 2015.
It also kept its dividend unchanged at 3.12 euros per share. Continuación...