PARIS, Oct 18 (Reuters) - French retailer Casino, which is battling investor concern over its high debt, said that sales growth accelerated in the third quarter, reflecting an improving performance in its core French market and in Brazil.
Casino - which is more than halfway on its way to reaching its goal of selling 1.5 billion euros ($1.72 billion) of assets by early 2019 to help cut debts - said it was maintaining all its annual financial objectives.
Casino’s credit rating was cut to junk by Standard & Poor’s in March 2016, and the firm is under pressure to show it can revive profits in France while conditions in Brazil stay tough.
The company, which controls Brazil’s top retailer Grupo Pao de Acucar, said third-quarter group sales reached 8.922 billion euros, in line with the 8.9 billion euros average in a consensus of analysts’ forecasts compiled by the company.
Stripping out acquisitions, currency effects and revenue on fuel, sales rose 5.4 percent, against 5.2 percent growth in the second quarter.
The stock is down by nearly 20 percent so far in 2018, partly on concerns over Casino’s balance sheet and parent group Rallye’s ability to refinance its debt. ($1 = 0.8699 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Editing by Sarah White)