BERLIN — Metro Group said it is preparing to spin off its core Cash & Carry food specialist and consumer electronics businesses into two independent, stock-market listed companies. The proposed restructuring is subject to shareholder approval, with implementation of the de-merger aimed for mid-2017.
The newly proposed Wholesale and Food Specialist Group, comprised of Metro, Makro, their associated entities and Real supermarkets, and Consumer Electronics products and services groups, made up of Media-Saturn and its portfolio of formats and brands, would have their own distinct profile, management and supervisory boards, and be individually stock-listed. At present, the two fields of business offer very limited synergies and operational overlaps, according to Metro.
In a process of key divestments, the German group has been working to more strongly focus on its core operations. Last year, Metro sold the Galeria Kaufhof department store chain to the Hudson’s Bay Co. and carried out other portfolio changes including the sale of Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam and Real International.
It is expected that Metro AG’s shareholders will receive shares in both new companies in proportion to their exciting holdings. Following a period of consultation and review by the Metro management and supervisory boards, shareholders will be invited to a general meeting to discuss and vote on the proposed de-merger. The group’s key shareholders, Haniel, Schmidt-Ruthenbeck and Beisheim, support the de-merger plan, Metro said.
“I feel very strongly that a split into two independent and focused businesses would be in the best interest of all stakeholders, as it would facilitate a significant opportunity for faster and more profitable growth,” Jürgen Steinemann, chairman of the supervisory board, stated.
Metro Cash & Carry has generated 10 consecutive quarters of like-for-like growth and improved earnings performance, while Media-Saturn has delivered its sixth consecutive quarter of like-for-like growth, strong earnings and market share in the last fiscal year. For the year ended Sept. 30, 2015, group sales reached 59.21 billion euros, or $68.07 billion, with net profit before special items hitting 688 million euros, or $790.5 million.
Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the period in question.
Subject to the respective supervisory boards’ approval, it is intended that Olaf Koch, current chief executive officer of Metro AG, would run the Wholesale and Food Specialist entity. The Consumer Electronics group would be headed by Pieter Haas, a member of the Metro AG management board and ceo of Media Saturn.