Metro Group

BERLIN — Special items negatively impacted Metro Group’s net profits in its most recent fiscal year ended Sept. 30, but the German wholesale cash and carry, supermarket and electronics group nonetheless met its sales and earnings targets for the 12-month period.

In final figures released Wednesday, Metro AG reported net profits after special items declined 8 percent to 657 million euros, or $729.9 million, compared with 714 million euros, or $820 million, in the same prior-year period. Before special items, net profits rose 5.7 percent to 727 million euros, or $807.6 million, compared with 688 million euros, or $790.1 million, in the comparable year.

These differences, a company spokesman explained, relate to the sale of Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam in fiscal 2015-16 and the sale of the Galeria Kaufhof department store chain in fiscal 2014-15.

Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the periods to which they refer.

Earnings before interest and taxes before special items rose 3.2 percent to 1.56 billion euros, or $1.73 billion, meeting the group’s forecast of a slight rise above the previous year.

Negative currency and portfolio effects pushed group sales down 1.4 percent to 58.4 billion euros, or $64.88 billion. But like-for-like sales rose 0.2 percent, and in local currency, group sales advanced 0.4 percent, in line with the group’s target.

As previously reported, Metro is in the midst of demerger plans and projects to complete the spin-off of its food and non-food operation by mid-2017.

Based on the current group structure, Metro is projecting a slight rise in overall sales for the year ahead, despite a continuously challenging economic environment. It furthermore projects like-for-like sales will again book a slight increase, with Metro Cash & Carry and Media-Saturn sales as contributors.

Metro is also expecting to achieve “another slight improvement in earnings,” supported by operational improvements, a focus on efficient structures and strict cost management. These measures, the group noted, are “expected to result in special items for the last time.”

Therefore, Metro is forecasting EBIT before special items to rise slightly above the current year’s level of 1.56 billion euros, or $1.73 billion. The outlook will be adjusted, Metro said, if the group’s planned demerger is approved, as expected, at the annual general meeting on Feb. 6 and implemented, as scheduled, during the current fiscal year.