French retail group Casino has signed an agreement to sell a majority share of its Venezuelan unit Cativen to the country’s government for US$690m.

The Venezuelan government will acquire 80.1% of Cativen, Casino said today (26 November). As a result, the shareholders of Cativen will dispose of their entire shareholding, while Casino will retain a 19.9% share in the company, which it said will allow the company to “continue providing operational support to and develop cooperation with the new state-controlled entity”.

Casino will receive a total consideration of $622.5m related to the sale of Cativen and to the recovery of around $265m of outstanding intercompany loans.

The retailer will receive 60% of the total payment on the closure of the deal – 20% in cash and 40% in two US dollar-denominated promissory notes to mature on 30 November and 30 November next year respectively.

The remaining 40% will be paid in cash following a payment schedule that extends until February.

“The Casino Group looks forward to continue serving the consumer needs of the Venezuelan people through this newly formed alliance with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” Casino said.

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