From December 2015, Casino and Rallye were subject to coordinated and sustained speculative attacks. This activity was aimed at systematically decreasing the prices of Group's securities, mainly by way of short selling.
It caused a downward pressure on the prices of their shares and debt securities and over the long term resulted in a sharp drop in both Casino and its parent companies - Rallye, Foncière Euris and Finatis - share prices, leading to an increasing mismatch between the market value and the intrinsic value of the underlying assets. Market pressure rose from mid-May 2019, mainly as a result of a sustained increase in short positions, a surge in the Rallye credit default swap on 20 May and, in turn, the massive hike in securities lending and borrowing .
Following these persistent and massive speculative attacks against the Group’s securities, Rallye and its subsidiaries Cobivia, HMB and Alpétrol requested and obtained the initiation of safeguard proceedings further to the court decisions of 23 May 2019 and 17 June 2019. On 28 February 2020, the companies’ safeguard plans were approved by the Paris Commercial Court, bringing the observation period to an end. Under the safeguard procedure, Rallye now intends to continue its development with confidence in order to ensure the group’s integrity and to consolidate its financial position in a stabilised environment.
The beginning of 2020 has been marked by the unexpected COVID-19 health crisis, which is shifting our way of life and having an impact on our personal and professional lives and day-to-day existence. With this in mind, our Group has prioritised protecting its employees’ health and its business’ long-term viability.
With the global crisis, food retail jobs have never been so exposed or so vital. Demand has risen to unprecedented levels, with local formats, urban stores and E-commerce accounting for the bulk of the increased activity. Measures have been introduced to ensure the Group’s core mission of securing the food supply of the populations it serves. In a challenging economic environment, our teams stand mobilised and unified in preparation for the post-crisis future, as they continue the accelerated adaptation of operating processes and the development of new offerings in response to the current unprecedented situation.
I would like to thank all of our team members personally for their commitment, particularly those in day-to-day operations, who have shown courage and exemplary commitment.