BERLIN — The proposed demerger of the Metro Group into two separately traded companies is moving ahead, with a proforma separation to be effective Sept. 30.
The German group said the businesses would be organizationally separated at the end of the month. Active in 35 countries, the Metro Cash & Carry B2B business and Real B2C hypermarket division, including related entities and business activities such as logistics, IT and real estate (with a book value of around 4.5 billion euros, or $5.02 billion at current exchange) will now be the new Wholesale and Food business.
In the 2014-2015 fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2015, these business spheres generated sales of 37 billion euros, or $42.49 billion, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) before special effects reached 1.8 billion euros, or $2.07 billion. Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the period to which they refer.
The Metro Group’s remaining Media and Saturn division will become the new Consumer Electronics products and service company. In fiscal 2014-2015, the electronics businesses posted sales of 22 billion euros, or $25.26 billion, in 15 countries, and EBITDA of 700 million euros, or $804 million. The final spin-off and public listing of the new companies is planned for mid-2017. Both companies will be headquartered in Dusseldorf.
The two new companies will be separately managed. As previously announced, current Metro Group chief executive officer Olaf Koch is to be ceo of the Wholesale and Food group. Metro has now announced further managing board candidates for the new company: Christian Baier, currently chief financial officer of Metro Cash & Carry, as cfo; Pieter Boone, currently member of the management board of Metro AG responsible for Metro Cash & Carry as chief operating officer; and Heiko Hutmacher, currently management board member and chief human resources officer of Metro AG for the human resources post.
For the Consumer Electronics unit, Media Saturn ceo and Metro AG management board member Pieter Haas, as previously reported, will assume the new ceo position. Mark Frese, currently cfo of Metro AG, will become cfo of Consumer Electronics and Dieter Haag Molkenteller, now group director legal affairs and compliance at Metro AG, will take over the clco post.
All management board positions have to be approved by the respective supervisory boards, where the following personnel decisions have been made. Jürgen Steinemann, chairman of the supervisory board of Metro AG, will retain his mandate for the future Wholesale and Food Specialist group. Jürgen Fitschen, long-term member of the Metro AG supervisory board, is to assume the supervisory board chairman post for the future Consumer Electronics company.
As for the new companies’ planned capital and tax structures, Metro said an increase in the capital stock of Metro AG is not planned. To strengthen the capital base of the Consumer Electronics company, however, a 10 percent shareholding in the Wholesale and Food business is envisaged.
In a telephone conference on Tuesday, Koch emphasized that the demerger concept and tax structure has already been aligned with the tax authorities. He said he is thus more than confident that both new groups will maintain the “investment guide rating.”
Koch again reconfirmed Metro Group’s 2015-2016 sales and earnings forecast, which calls for a slight increase in sales and operative earnings (EBIT).
On Oct. 19, Metro will publish a trading statement on the group’s preliminary figures for fiscal 2016, and in early November, the group plans a further presentation on the business strategies of the new companies.