French retailer Casino has announced that it has raised its stake in Indian Ocean region retailer Vindémia to 70% after the directors of Groupe Bourbon exercised an option to sell their 36.66% interest to Casino.

The transaction will enable Casino to fully consolidate Vindémia, which in 2004 generated net sales of €863m (US$1.093bn), EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of €81m and EBIT of €47m.

The increased stake in Vindémia is in line with Casino's strategic commitment to raising the contribution of its international operations, with a significant improvement in their share of the group's main consolidated aggregates, Casino said.

With 44 stores at 31 March 2005, Vindémia is the leading retailer in the Indian Ocean (Reunion Island, Madagascar, Mayotte, Mauritius and Vietnam), with strong market share, satisfactory growth and operating margin comparable to the group's French operations. In addition, Vindémia is led by a high quality management team, in which Casino has renewed its confidence, it said.

Groupe Bourbon said the move meant it had achieved its aim of focussing on Marine Services. The company is changing its name to Bourbon and moving its registered office from Réunion Island to Paris.