By Sudip Kar-Gupta
PARIS (Reuters) -Rallye, the holding company behind indebted French supermarket company Casino, on Monday said it had started proceedings with a Paris court to get a period of grace over its debt situation.
"As of today, discussions with the holders of Rallye's debts secured by Casino's securities placed in trust have not been successful yet. Under these circumstances, the companies have decided to request the opening of a conciliation proceeding to benefit from a more protective legal framework in order to pursue discussions with their creditors," Rallye said.
Rallye said the Paris Commercial Court had opened conciliation proceedings over its debt situation for an initial period of four months, with the possibility to extend this for a further month.
Casino - which has around 3 billion euros ($3.30 billion) of debts maturing in 2024 and 2025 - has been considering rival tie-up proposals as it looks to improve its financial position.
Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, Casino's second-biggest shareholder, has offered to take control of Casino through a 1.1 billion-euro capital increase, challenging a proposed tie-up between Casino and smaller retailer Teract.
Earlier this month, Standard & Poor's cut its rating on Casino, adding further pressure to the company, whose shares are down by around 30% so far in 2023, having fallen 58% in 2022.
($1 = 0.9084 euros)
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)