Groupe Casino sells its Indian Ocean subsidiary, Vindémia, for €219m

Groupe Casino has sold its Indian Ocean retail subsidiary Vindémia for €219m to Groupe Bernard Hayot (GBH), a French conglomerate with operations across Africa.

Vindémia was built through acquisition between 2001 and 2007 and in 2018, generated a turnover of €853m. It has 250 stores and notably owns the Score supermarket brand and Jumbo hypermarket brand. It was founded in 1972 in Reunion, where it has 160 stores (of which around a hundred are duty free). It has thirty stores in Mayotte, a dozen in Mauritius and sixty in Madagascar. Four hypermarkets currently operated by Vindémia in Reunion (Jumbo Sainte-Marie, Jumbo Saint-André, Jumbo Chaudron, Jumbo Savanna) have been sold to local group Make Distribution to satisfy French competition regulators. Make Distribution is Intermarché’s local partner in Reunion.

Casino will still have some presence in the Indian Ocean through the Leader Price discounter brand operated by franchisee Caillé Group, GBH’s endebted, smaller local rival.

GBH is a private French company, still family owned. It already operates Casino’s Géant and Casino supermarket brands in French New Caledonia, having acquired them in 2011. It is also the Carrefour franchise holder in Reunion and Martinique. It also operates French franchises including Decathlon and Mr. Bricolage in the Indian Ocean.

In West Africa, GBH’s main interests are in the automobile sector, where it competes with CFAO (Carrefour’s West Africa partner). It has held the Suzuki and Renault franchises in Côte d’Ivoire since 2014, for example, and also operates in Ghana. It is also the Michelin distributor in Algeria and Morocco.

We think GBH could become a candidate to acquire Monaco-based Mercure’s supermarket network across West Africa, which also includes the Casino franchise. In recent years Mercure, which acquired the former Score supermarket chain in francophone West Africa in 1994 (subsequently converted to the Casino fascia) has struggled to impose itself in the face of several new entrants in the supermarket sector in francophone West Africa, including Dia, Spar, Carrefour, Auchan and Super U (although Mercure is the Super U franchise holder in Senegal). Mercure also partners with Prosuma, Casino’s Ivorian franchise holder, another potential GBH target. Trendtype thinks Mercure is strategically more geared towards developing shopping malls and its growing portfolio of premium non-food brands.