UPDATE 3-France's Casino says debt-trimming plan on track after downgrade to junk

lunes 21 de marzo de 2016 10:28 GYT

* Retailer plays down impact of junk rating

* Sale of stake in Thai unit to complete shortly

* Company confirms profit forecast, deleveraging plan (Adds details on Thai unit sale)

By James Regan

PARIS, March 21 (Reuters) - Casino said on Monday it was on track to reduce debt as promised after Standard & Poor's cut the French retailer's credit rating to junk, citing falling profits, weakness in Brazil and competition at home.

Casino said the agency's decision to assign it a BB+ non-investment grade rating with a stable outlook would add less than 20 million euros ($22.5 million) to the cost of its bond debt before tax this year, with no effect on its liquidity.

Casino also confirmed the full-year core profit forecast it issued earlier this month for its domestic business, as well as the "continuous fast implementation of its deleveraging plan".

It said key disposals in Asia were moving ahead, and the completion of the sale of its 58.6 percent stake in Thai unit Big C Supercenter for 3.1 billion euros was imminent.

Shareholders of Thailand's Berli Jucker Pcl voted on Monday in favour of the purchase, two financial sources told Reuters. One source said Berli was expected to pay Casino by the end of March.   Continuación...