France-based retailer Casino has confirmed the government of Venezuela is to pay $690m (£444m) for an 80.1% stake in its local retailer Cativen, and that it has signed a partnership agreement with the government.

As part of the agreement, Casino will retain 19.9% of the company and continue to provide operational support.

Under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has taken over parts of the retail sector, in what he has called a movement towards “21st century socialism”, to lower food prices for consumers.