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UPDATE 2-French retailer Casino's Brazil arm to buy out Colombian unit

(Adds statement from Casino, details and background)

BRASILIA, June 27 (Reuters) - Retailer Casino said on Thursday that it plans to restructure its Latin America business through its Brazil and Colombian units in a move aimed at improving its performance as the French group grapples with high debts.

Casino's Brazil subsidiary retailer GPA will buy all shares in Colombian unit Almacenes Exito SA, GPA said in a securities filing on Wednesday.

Casino later confirmed the move on Thursday, saying it would simplify its structure in Latin America.

Latin America, and particularly Brazil, is a key contributor to Casino's sales and profit, and has helped offset a weaker performance in France, where the retailing group has faced price wars among supermarket companies.

Brazil's GPA will use cash to acquire all shares in Almacenes Exito with a potential purchase price of 16,000 to 18,000 Colombian pesos ($5.03 to $5.66) per share. Casino would acquire all controlling shares in GPA indirectly owned by Exito.

GPA indicated its initial support for the plan and created a special committee to consider the proposal.

The restructuring would also see GPA's shares migrate to the Novo Mercado segment of Brazil's stock exchange, a move that requires it to comply with stricter governance standards.

Earlier this month, GPA sold its 36% stake in Brazilian appliance and electronics seller Via Varejo in an auction, raising 2.3 billion reais ($598.44 million).

Casino's parent companies, including Rallye, were placed under protection from creditors last month in a bid to save the indebted French group from collapse.

Casino, whose credit ratings have been cut by Standard & Poor's and Moody's, has embarked upon asset sales to cut its debt and ease concerns over the financial positions of both Casino and the Rallye holding company.

($1 = 3,183.0000 Colombian pesos)

($1 = 3.8433 reais) (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr and Jake Spring; Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris Editing by Sandra Maler, Jonathan Oatis and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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