French retailing group Casino has announced its intention to invest in Fil-Franco Realty & Resources, a retail property unit established in July by Uniwide Holdings Inc. The move is just one part of a rehabilitation plan for the Philippine retail group, which had been submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission in October of last year.
The ailing Uniwide had already entered into an investment agreement with Casino in February, following last June’s filing to the SEC for debt suspension when it was unable to meet obligations to creditors. This saw the payment of 3.6bn pesos for the Philippine firm’s retail operations and assets.
Uniwide, which is owned by the Gow family, currently owes debts totalling PHP11.1bn following expansion into property development.
The latest investment will be conducted on behalf of Casino through a holding company, of which the French retailer will own 40%. The remaining 60% will be held by a Filipino partner, although Uniwide revealed in a statement that, “bound by a confidentiality agreement, the identity and background of the Philippine partner cannot be disclosed yet.”