As consequence of the report disclosed by Muddy Waters at the end of 2015 which raised concerns regarding Casino’s indebtedness, the group’s rating was downgraded by S&P prompting it to launch a €4 billion balance sheet de-leveraging strategy financed by asset disposals.The net debt of Casino decreased significantly. However, the net results amounts to €2,679 due to asset sales but the underlying net profit from continuing operations amounts to only €341 M and does not cover the dividend (€346 M).
Therefore, as usual, the proposdividend can be used to cover the main shareholders’ debt payments which in turn will be paid upwards (as dividends) to cover debt payments in the pyramid of holding companies controlled by Jean-Charles Naouri. For these reasons, we recommend opposition (resolution 3).
Remuneration (resolutions 7 and 8): these resolutions represents the opportunity for shareholders to express their opposition for disclosure on related party transactions had been more transparent. Indeed, the main issue remains the lack of disclosure observed in the annual report regarding related-party transactions. The lack of information does not allow shareholders to identify all of the transactions that potentially benefit Jean-Charles Naouri and as such, his actual total remuneration in any given year cannot be accurately measured.