March 2, 2020 / 1:57 PM / in a month

Czech businessman Kretinsky tightens tie with France's Casino in Rallye deal

PARIS, March 2 (Reuters) - Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky has tightened his ties with French retailer Casino by refinancing derivatives deals struck by its indebted parent Rallye.

Kretinsky, already the owner of 5.64% of Casino’s capital, will provide up to 233 million euros ($259 million) through his EP Investment vehicle to refund derivatives deals Rallye had sealed with financial institutions, Rallye said in a statement.

Monday’s refinancing deal is backed by a fiduciary trust, which gives Kretinsky a pledge over approximately 9.5 million Casino shares, or a 8.73% of its share capital.

These Casino shares are equivalent to those that were pledged to the parties to the derivatives transactions.

Casino Chief Executive and controlling shareholder Jean-Charles Naouri has been trying to ease the company’s debts and those of Rallye, which was placed under protection from creditors in May 2019, via asset sales and refinancings.

The Rallye derivatives transactions were not covered by the Rallye safeguard plan that was approved by the Paris Commercial Court on Feb 28.

They were subject to specific agreements signed in November 2019, which called for repayments to the financial institutions in June 30, 2021 and in Dec 31, 2022 at the latest.

As a result of the Kretinsky deal, the derivatives will be reimbursed under the same terms and timetable as those offered to secured Rallye creditor banks under a safeguard plan that is up to 85% in February 2023 and the remainder in February 2024. ($1 = 0.9000 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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