Metro was previously one of Germany's largest general retail groups, but like its counterparts in several other countries, it had struggled for years to find a path to sustained growth at home as a result of fierce competition from cooperative retailers and discount rivals Aldi and Lidl. Gradually, the group began breaking itself up. Struggling supermarket chain Extra was transferred to competitor Rewe in 2008, and department stores business Kaufhof was acquired in 2015 by HBC of Canada. The process came to a crescendo in 2017 when the group split into two separate companies. The cash & carry and hypermarket operations were spun off as a new entity which adopted the Metro AG name, while the old corporate entity rebranded as Ceconomy. It continues to operate the consumer electronics chains MediaMarket and Saturn. The new Metro AG is centred on cash & carry wholesale. It operates around 680 Metro and Makro wholesale warehouses in 34 countries. Key markets are Germany, France, Russia, Italy and Spain, but there are also stores in India, Pakistan, Japan and several other European countries. It sold majority control of its warehouses in China to a local partner in 2020. One of the group's last remaining sidelines was the supermarket retailer Real, with a chain of around 280 hypermarkets in Germany. In 2020 Metro sold the business to investment firm SCP, which then broke up the business, splitting most of its assets and locations between Lidl-owned Kaufland and supermarket giant Edeka. Kaufland also acquired the Real.de online brand. Metro's combined revenues for the year to Mar 2020 were €25.6bn (compared to almost €67bn for the old group at its peak). Food sales accounted for almost 90% of sales. In 2020, CEO Olaf Koch announced plans to depart the group a year before the end of his contract. His role has been split between CFO Christian Baier and COO Rafael Gasset until a fulltime successor can be appointed. In the mean time, Metro's dwindling stature has opened it up to takeover approaches. EP Global Commerce, a holding company of Czech entrepreneur Daniel Kretinsky, which is also now Metro's biggest shareholder with over 40% of equity, has made repeated offers to acquire the group. His latest offer in 2020 valued the group at just €3.1bn. Metro was originally formed in 1996 from the merger of three separate companies - Metro Cash & Carry, Kaufhof Holding and Asko Deutsche Kaufhaus.
Capsule checked 24th December 2020
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Historical profile information for Metro Group
Adbrands Weekly Update 9th February 2017: Shareholders of German retail giant Metro approved its separation into two separate companies. The existing group's Metro cash and carry and Real hypermarket businesses will be spun off into a separate entity which will adopt the Metro name. The remaining company, consisting of the MediaMarkt and Saturn electronics retail chains, will be renamed Ceconomy. That process is expected to complete mid-year.
Adbrands Weekly Update 31st Mar 2016: German group Metro, currently the 5th largest retailer in Europe, is to split into two separate public companies. The group's core cash & carry business and what remains of its supermarket division will be spun off into a separate entity led by current group CEO Olaf Koch, leaving consumer electronics behemoth Media-Saturn as the core of the renamed group. This comprises the twin European chains MediaMarkt and Saturn. It already operates as a separate division within the current group under CEO Pieter Haas. Annual revenues for Media-Saturn were almost €22bn last year, while the cash & carry and food retail units generated a combined €37bn. However, combined growth has been more or less flat for several years, and Metro's share price has significantly underperformed the market. The new move is designed to free up both businesses to pursue their own separate paths.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Dec 2015: German retail giant Metro Group, owners of the huge Media Markt-Saturn consumer electronics business and Real supermarkets as well as the Metro cash & carry, reported another flat performance for the year to Sept. Reported sales slid 1% to €59.2bn, partly as a result of exchange rates and the sale of its Galeria Kaufhof department store to Canada's HBC. Like for like sales rose 1.5%. However losses from continuing operations rose dramatically from negative €3m to negative €221m. Bottom line was saved only by proceeds from the Kaufhof sale, resulting in a €714m surplus.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Jun 2015: Canadian retail group HBC took its first steps into Europe with a deal to acquire Germany's biggest department store chain Galeria Kaufhof from Metro Group for €2.42bn. The group, which owns Canadian store Hudson's Bay Company as well as US-based Saks 5th Avenue, plans to use some of Kaufhof's current retail estate as a platform to launch the Saks brand into Germany. The European company owns 103 Kaufhof department stores and 16 Sportarena sports equipment outlets in Germany, as well as the Inno department store chain in Belgium. HBC beat off a rival bid from the owner of Germany's other major department store business Karstadt.
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