Casino has "full confidence" in Grupo Pao de Acucars management team

Casino has "full confidence" in Grupo Pao de Acucar's management team

Casino has insisted it will not be taking a more active role in the management of Brazilian retailer CBD after becoming the group's "full controlling shareholder".

Last week, Casino chairman and CEO Jean-Charles Naouri was appointed chairman of Wilkes, the holding company through which the French retailer and fellow CBD investor Abilio Diniz control the Brazilian firm.

Through the appointment, Casino said it becomes the "sole controlling shareholder" of CBD, which is also known by its trading name Grupo Pao de Acucar.

Casino and Brazilian tycoon Diniz have jointly managed CBD since 2005 and the change in control follows the original deal struck by the two parties.

However, the relationship between Casino and Diniz publicly soured last year after the businessman hatched a plan to merge CBD with Carrefour's unit in Brazil - without informing his fellow shareholder.

A spokesperson for Casino told just-food today (25 June) the French retailer believes CBD should "continue to be run as it is today".

"GPA has a professional management that has consistently delivered sound results. Enéas Pestana is a very experienced executive and has been with GPA for ten years. He leads a team of very talented and dynamic Brazilians in which Casino has full confidence. Casino strongly believes that GPA needs to be run by Brazilians," the spokesperson emphasised.

The retailer insisted this attitude to its investment in CBD is reflective of its strategy to develop a "close relationship of trust" with the existing management of its international portfolio.

"Casino will, together with the management team and the board of directors, agree on a long term vision for GPA and on the short term goals," the spokesperson revealed. "Casino's management philosophy and policy is to have a strong, very talented and dynamic team leading the local operations with the support of executives - including Brazilians - backing them up from France."

Casino said it does not plan to change the Brazilian group's strategic direction, rather supporting growth through knowledge-sharing and the implementation of best practice.

"Casino will further support GPA with industry knowledge, implementing best practices seen in other operations, will support the execution of the agreed strategic plan approved by its shareholders - focused on organic growth -aimed at continuous value creation. GPA is on the right track, and will accelerate its organic growth, especially on the smaller formats (supermarkets, convenience stores), and on cash & carry. GPA will also focus on multi-channel approach and leverage its internet operations on its unparalleled physical stores network. To be noted, GPA will also focus on real estate value creation," the company revealed.

Casino will maintain all GPA brands and the spokesperson added there are "ambitious growth plans for Brazil".
"Casino has ambitious growth plans for Brazil. GPA is the market leader and Casino plans to reinforce its leadership, while improving the operation's profitability."