Carrefour Bonds Fall on Concern Takeover Would Pile On Debt

Bonds issued by French supermarket group Carrefour SA took a pounding on Wednesday as a takeover approach from Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. sparked concerns that a deal would swell the combined company’s debt burden, Bloomberg News reported. A 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) note maturing in 2027 was indicated 1.1 cents lower at 115.4 cents, marking the biggest one-day price drop since issuance last March, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the worst-performing bond in the euro high-grade market Wednesday, followed by other bonds issued by the French grocer. Any takeover of Carrefour would likely require Couche-Tard to take on further debt to finance the transaction, potentially hurting the credit profile of the food-retailing behemoth that would emerge from it, analysts said. Credit rating firms have already taken issue with Carrefour over its debt load. Moody’s Investors Service kept the company’s Baa1 rating at a negative outlook last September, citing high gross leverage and low cash generation even as a transformation plan labeled ‘Carrefour 2022’ starts to yield results. Read more.