January 17, 2019 / 4:49 PM / a year ago

Retailer Casino keeps goals although French protests weighed on Q4

PARIS, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Casino, which is battling investor concern over its high debt, said revenue growth slightly slowed down in the fourth quarter as anti-government protests rocking its core French market impacted sales at its Geant hypermarkets.

Casino, which is shedding assets to help cut its debts and recorded a robust sales performance in its second-largest market of Brazil, nevertheless expected to meet its 2018 profit goals for France and overall group and debt reduction goals.

The French “yellow vest” protests cost Casino about 50 million euros ($57 million) in lost revenue, Finance Chief David Lubek told reporters.

Casino, which controls Brazil’s Grupo Pao de Acucar , said fourth-quarter sales reached 9.928 billion euros, above the 9.8 billion euros average in a consensus of 10 analysts’ forecasts compiled by the company.

Stripping out acquisitions, disposals, currency effects and fuel, group sales rose 5.1 percent year-on-year, a slight deceleration from 5.3 percent growth in the third quarter.

Casino reports full-year earnings on March 14.

For 2018, Casino has forecast organic growth above 10 percent in consolidated profit, excluding tax credits, and organic growth also above 10 percent in French operating profits, excluding real estate activities.

$1 = 0.8782 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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