The group is studying a merger of its distribution activities in France with Teract, the InVivo subsidiary that also develops the Grand Marché Frais d’ici brand.
the Casino and Teract groups confirmed that they “have entered into exploratory discussions that could lead to the combination of the two groups’ retail activities in France within a single entity controlled by Casino”.
Although the press release states that “these discussions are preliminary and may not be concluded”, it mentions a scheme that could change the profile of the Casino group. Last June, the Saint-Etienne-based distributor simplified its legal organisation, grouping its distribution activities in France (with the Monoprix, Franprix, Casino, Géant and Naturalia brands) within a single entity, CGP Distribution France. This will make it easier to sell or open up the capital.
In the officially envisaged operation, CGP Distribution France would merge with the distribution activities of Teract. Teract is a company recently created by the merger between the cooperative InVivo and the Spac 2MX, created by Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse and Moez-Alexandre Zouari, and includes the gardening brands Jardiland, Gamm Vert, Delbard and Noa. But its ambition is above all to develop the food chain Grand Marché Frais d’ici, created by Moez-Alexandre Zouari. This distributor, who is also one of the main Parisian franchisees of Monoprix and Franprix and a controlling shareholder of Picard, wants to make his new brand a rival to Grand Frais.
While the resulting retail group would be controlled by Casino, Teract’s shareholders (InVivo with 69%, the Zouari family with 12% and Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse with 3%) would hold a significant share. In the proposed merger under study, Casino and Teract are also working on “the establishment of a newly created entity controlled by Teract shareholders, responsible in particular for the supply of agricultural products, local and short circuit. Contacted by Le Figaro, spokespersons for Casino and Teract declined to comment further on the ambitions of the two groups.