French supermarket chain Casino has officially started court-backed negotiations with its creditors.

The retailer said the Paris Commercial Court had decided to initiate a conciliation procedure for the benefit of Casino and certain of its subsidiaries for an initial period of four months.

The conciliation procedure period is extendable by one month.

It will be overseen by court-appointed officials Aurelia Perdereau and Marc Senechal.

The company in a statement said: “The purpose of this procedure is to enable the Casino group to engage in discussions with its financial creditors within a legally secure framework.

“The conciliation procedure only concerns the financial debt of Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA and certain of its subsidiaries and will have no impact on the group’s relations with its operational partners (in particular its suppliers) and its employees.”

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Casino, which is headed and controlled by Jean-Charles Naouri, had a consolidated net debt of €6.4bn as of the end of fiscal 2022, up from €5.9bn in 2021. The group is the owner of the Franprix and Monoprix chain.

The decision to start conciliation proceedings with creditors comes as Casino expects tie-up proposals from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky and from smaller retailer Teract TRACT.PA, the media added.

“In the context of ongoing discussions with the TERACT group and Groupement Les Mousquetaires, on the one hand, and following the proposal made by EP Global Commerce on the other, the Casino group considers that the conciliation procedure will provide the best possible framework for discussions with its creditors and potential investors.” the company added.

The company also formed an ad hoc committee who will observe the conciliation procedure.