* Deal reflects growing interest in ethical finance
* Carrefour in midst of five-year plan to boost sales and profit
* Shareholders to vote on new mission statement at AGM
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, June 13 (Reuters) - French retailer Carrefour has reached a deal to amend and extend two credit lines worth a total of 3.9 billion euros ($4.4 billion), integrating a corporate social responsibility (CSR) component, it said on Thursday.
The company’s move reflects a growing interest among the financial community for ethical and responsible investing and ties in with Carrefour’s ambition to become a leader in the global transition towards healthier and more sustainable food.
As part of the deal, an investment structure dedicated to the “food transition” will be systematically funded by Carrefour and the banks based on Carrefour’s “CSR and food transition index”.
The index was created to pilot Carrefour’s progress towards food transition and CSR targets that include 17 goals ranging from reducing waste to healthier eating and gender equality.
Thursday’s announcement also ties in with a broader strategy overhaul at Europe’s largest retailer - which operates more than 1,300 hypermarkets among its 12,000-plus stores across over 30 countries - to focus more on areas such as fresh local products and organic food under a global five-year plan to boost sales and profits.
“We are proud to be a pioneer in these CSR-linked operations, which constitute another step in Carrefour’s ambition to be the leader of food transition for all,” finance chief Matthieu Malige said in a statement.
The first revolving credit facility was completed with a syndicate of eight banks for 1.4 billion euros. The second facility was negotiated with a syndicate of 21 banks for 2.5 billion euros.
Both will mature in June 2024 and can each be extended twice for one-year periods at Carrefour’s request.
The two deals are part of Carrefour’s strategy to secure its long-term financing, extending average maturity of these facilities from 3.1 years to 5 years. Carrefour holds its annual shareholder meeting on Friday, when it will seek approval for a new mission statement to include its commitment to food transition. ($1 = 0.8872 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon Editing by David Goodman)