Casino, Goldman team up for Polish retail JV

Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall fund is teaming up with French retail group Casino to build shopping malls in Poland—and possibly Eastern Europe.

French retail giant Casino Guichard-Perrachon is working with Goldman Sachs’ private equity real estate fund Whitehall to build shopping centers in Poland—with the possibility to expand into Eastern Europe.

Whitehall will commit a minimum of €500 million ($680 million) to the joint venture over the next 5 years, according to the group.

“This partnership provides an opportunity for Casino to optimize the value of its Polish real estate assets, to speed up the pace of development of its commercial property projects in Eastern Europe and to limit its investment to current levels,” the joint venture said in a statement. “The agreement concluded with the Whitehall funds is part of Casino’s strategy to enhance the value of its real estate assets and to leverage its development expertise.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Whitehall will finance 75 percent of the development costs of the joint venture. Casino would have the majority of the voting rights and receive approximately 65 to 70 percent of the development margins.  

The venture already has three projects under construction, representing around 127,000 square meters.

Casino has an international footprint with hypermarkets, largely under the Géant brand; supermarkets, under the Casino, Franprix, and Monoprix banners; restaurants like Casino Cafétéria; the Petit Casino, Vival and Spar convenience store chains; and discount store Leader Price.

Last month, Goldman Sachs closed its Whitehall Street Global Real Estate 2007 vehicle on $4 billion. The firm’s last private equity real estate fund closed on $3.2 billion in 2005. According to Bloomberg, Goldman has raised approximately $20 billion in equity for its Whitehall fund series since 1991.