A merger is on the cards between Casino and Teract, a French agricultural cooperative that also has its own retail branch. Together, they want to create an “alternative distribution model”, with everything from its own farming to organic shops and garden centres.
Tens of thousands of shops
France may see the emergence of a powerful new retail ecosystem: Casino is number seven in the French food market, Teract is an offshoot of InVivo, one of Europe’s largest agricultural groups. Together, they would form an integrated network, both vertically in the supply chain and horizontally with numerous different shop formats.
The plan is to soon create two separate entities: one for the retail operations (with Casino at the head) and one as a supplier of agricultural products (controlled by InVivo). The retail branch would include all distribution activities of both companies in France, combining Casino’s 9,100 shops and Teract’s garden centres, pet shops and food shops. The latter’s current holdings include bakery chain Louise, garden chains Gamm Vert and Jardiland, and the fresh markets of Frais d’Ici and Bio&Co. Several of those chains also operate in Belgium, but those shops are not part of the acquisition.
Leader in sustainable distribution
The second company will be named Teract Ferme France and will be responsible for supplying agricultural products, taking advantage of the fact that InVivo groups 188 European agricultural cooperatives. Talks are also already underway with a number of candidates to invest another half a billion euros of additional capital into the new entity. Together, Casino and Teract aim to become the “French leader in responsible and sustainable distribution”, as an “alternative retail model” with a particular focus on the short chain.
An exclusive agreement is currently in place, which should lead to a formal takeover deal before the end of the second quarter. The merger then still has to pass social partners and the French competition authority. Casino has a strong interest in them giving the green light, as the supermarket group is sitting on a huge debt. In 2022, the group posted a net loss of 316 million euros, on sales of 33.6 billion euros.