METRO GROUP achieves record earnings of € 2.4 billion

Düsseldorf, (PresseBox) - .
- EBIT before special items soars by nearly 20% to € 2.415 billion
- Sales of METRO GROUP rise 2.6% to € 67.3 billion
- All sales divisions contribute to earnings growth
- Shape's contribution to earnings since the start of the programme climbs to € 527 million
- Increased dividend of € 1.35 per share of common stock proposed
- 100 new store openings realised – more than 110 new locations planned for 2011
- Market entry in Indonesia planned for 2012

METRO GROUP closed the financial year 2010 with record earnings. EBIT before special items soared by 19.3% to € 2.415 billion. The contribution to earnings of the efficiency- and value-enhancement programme Shape 2012 has climbed to € 527 million since the start of the programme. "We have achieved record earnings during the greatest restructuring in the company’s history and at the end of a severe economic crisis. At the half-time of Shape 2012 we can already say that we are now stronger than before the crisis", said Dr Eckhard Cordes, CEO of METRO AG. To let shareholders adequately participate in this success, an increased dividend of € 1.35 per share of common stock will be proposed to the Annual General Meeting.

Sales of METRO GROUP rose by 2.6% to € 67.3 billion (in local currency: +0.9%) in financial year 2010. In Germany, sales adjusted for store disposals and divestments came in at the prior-year level. Before adjustment, sales dropped by 1.4% to € 26.1 billion due to poor weather conditions prevailing during the important Christmas business, among others. International sales, by contrast, went up by 5.4% (in local currency: +2.5%). In Western Europe (excluding Germany), sales climbed by 2.8% to € 21.5 billion (in local currency: +2.1%). In Eastern Europe, sales increased also on account of exchange rate effects by 7.1% to € 16.9 billion (in local currency: +1.5%). Business in Asia/Africa showed a very gratifying development in financial year 2010. Sales climbed by 17.3% to € 2.7 billion (in local currency: +12.9%). "This demonstrates that the international positioning of METRO GROUP has once again proven its worth", said Cordes.

Operating earnings (EBIT) of METRO GROUP before special items went up € 391 million to € 2.415 billion. This corresponds to a rise of nearly 20%. All sales divisions as well as the Real Estate segment contributed to this result. For Cordes, this demonstrates the new strength of METRO GROUP: "We were not passive during the crisis, but actively shaped it. This is now bearing fruit".
The net profit for the period before special items went up € 315 million to € 1,139 million. This corresponds to a rise of 38.2%. After minority shareholders, the net profit for the period before special items soared by 48.6% to € 1,019 million. The earnings per share from continuing operations before special items thus rose distinctly from € 2.10 to € 3.12. Also the EBITDAR before special items (EBITDA before rent) improved from € 4.3 billion to € 4.7 billion. This performance indicator allows better international comparability of the operating earnings strength because the distorting effect of rents on the grounds of different ownership conditions is not included. The EBITDAR margin improved from 6.6% to 7.0%.

The Metro share appreciated by 26.6% during the year under review and thereby ranked among the most successful shares in the German DAX index. The Management Board and the Supervisory Board propose to the Annual General Meeting on 6 May 2011 an increased dividend of € 1.35 (2009: € 1.18) per ordinary share and € 1.485 (2009: € 1.298) per preference share for financial year 2010.
The performance indicator return on capital employed (RoCe), which expresses the profitability of the capital employed, rose from 10.9% to 12.6%.
The net debt again dropped significantly by € 246 million to € 3.5 billion. Conversely, the equity ratio moved up from 18.0% to 18.4%. In the year 2010, METRO GROUP had an average workforce of 283,280 employees.

International expansion accelerated – Media Markt started in China

During the year under review, METRO GROUP generated 61% of its sales outside its home market. At € 1.7 billion, investments were € 166 million higher than one year earlier. The capex budget of € 1.9 billion was not fully used because various new store openings were reported to the year 2011. In addition, the capital efficiency was raised and smaller stores requiring lower construction cost were opened. The largest part of the investments was again used for the international expansion of Metro Cash & Carry and Media Markt, respectively Saturn. In total, METRO GROUP opened 100 new stores during the year under review of which 38 Metro Cash & Carry stores, two Real hypermarkets and 60 Media Markt and Saturn consumer electronics stores.

METRO GROUP entered new countries with three sales brands. Metro Cash & Carry completed the market entry into Egypt. Even if the first two locations were affected by the civil unrest in January 2011, the sales division invariably stands by its investments in Egypt. Especially significant for the whole Group was the successful start of Media Markt store in China. During the period from mid-November to the close of December, the first Media Markt in Shanghai already generated sales of € 9 million. The second store in the Chinese metropolis was opened in February 2011. In addition, the first Saturn store in Russia was opened during the year under review. With this move, METRO GROUP is represented with more than 100 stores operated by its sales divisions in this important country.

"We are continuing our international expansion at a faster pace and plan to open more than 110 new stores during the current year", said Cordes. The focus will be on China, India and Russia. Metro Cash & Carry plans to double the number of its now almost 50 stores in China until 2015. Media Markt plans to open up to ten stores in Shanghai until 2012. If this test phase proves to be successful, the presence in the major cities in China is to be extended by more than 100 stores. Also India offers an enormous market potential: in the medium term, Metro Cash & Carry plans to be represented with around 50 stores in this country. In the long term, India offers potential for a three-digit number of stores.

Moreover, the Management Board and Supervisory Board of METRO AG a few days ago resolved on the market entry of Metro Cash & Carry in Indonesia. "With a population of over 200 million inhabitants, a rapidly growing economy as well as strong private consumption, Indonesia offers great potential for our wholesale operations", said Cordes.

For 2011, an increased capex budget of € 2.2 billion is planned. Metro Cash & Carry plans to open more than 40 new stores during the current year and will further step up this figure in the next few years. At Real, five new hypermarkets are planned for the present year and more than ten new locations per year in the medium term. Media Markt and Saturn will open at least 70 consumer electronics stores per annum.

New procurement structure is showing effect

METRO GROUP made further progress in the reorganisation of its procurement activities during the year under review. Since early 2010, the sales divisions have been managing their purchasing activities under their own responsibility which allows them to better meet the needs of their customers. "Contrary to general expectations our purchase conditions did not deteriorate as a consequence of the dissolution of the central purchasing entity MGB, but improved throughout", said Cordes. This success is mainly attributable to a higher flexibility in procurement. Moreover, besides quantities also other criteria are taken into account during the price negotiations. One example is that the international presence of METRO GROUP is used to better support brand manufacturers in their expansion efforts.

Also with regard to so-called ultra-fresh produce – i.e. fruit, vegetables, fish and meat – METRO GROUP is breaking new ground. In future, Metro Cash & Carry will increasingly source these products through local procurement offices situated close to the producers and thereby gains greater influence on the quality of the merchandise. In addition, better purchase conditions are achieved due to the fact that no intermediaries are involved. In a first step, a network of five procurement offices will be established to control the purchase of certain product categories at a total of 13 locations and close to the suppliers worldwide – from South America to Oceania. Four of these procurement offices have already been opened.

Online strategy of the sales divisions

In 2010, METRO GROUP took important strategic measures so as to benefit more from the rising growth rates in online trading in future and generate additional sales volume.

During the year under review, Metro Cash & Carry opened another 11 "Metro Drive"stations in France where customers can collect the merchandise they ordered on the Internet. This means considerable time-savings for professional customers. In Germany, this successful multi-channel concept is implemented by Metro Cash & Carry through the sales brand C+C Schaper: the first three drive-in depots were opened in 2010.

Real opened up two new distribution channels in 2010. The Real online shop launched in May 2010 in the meantime offers more than 3,500 non-food products. In November 2010, in addition also the first independent drive-in store for food products in Germany was opened. Customers can order around 5,000 articles online – including frozen and fresh products – and pick them up at the station already two hours later. Real plans to open a second drive-in store in Germany still in the first half of 2011. The hypermarket operator also banks on the increased popularity of smartphones and uses them for customer address and customer loyalty. With a Real App, customers can for example prepare electronic shopping lists or download promotion offers and menu suggestions. The free application has in the meantime been downloaded more than 200,000 times.

Media Markt and Saturn launched online shops in The Netherlands and Austria in 2010. In Germany, Media Markt was the first brick-and-mortar retailer to launch a video-on-demand platform. Saturn will start its German online sales platform in the second half of 2011. Media Markt, too, plans to launch its own online platform in future.

Also Galeria Kaufhof took its multi-channel approach one step further and will in future also offer textiles on the Internet in addition to an extended assortment of household appliances, toys and jewellery – always in close coordination with the department store business.

In the medium term, METRO GROUP expects a sales growth of more than 6% per year. For 2011 - assuming an overall economic recovery and a moderate price increase, in particular in the fields of energy and raw materials - sales are anticipated to grow by more than 4% adjusted for portfolio changes.

In terms of earnings, measured as EBIT before special items, a growth of more than 10% per annum is anticipated for the medium term. Provided that the general economic conditions continue to improve further, METRO GROUP expects to be able to achieve a growth of EBIT before special items of around 10% in 2011. However, in view of the as yet incalculable effects of the disaster in Japan, the recent political developments in Northern Africa and the Middle East as well as the continued difficult financial situation in individual European countries also the risks for a deterioration of the economic environment have increased. Although Shape will make a positive contribution to earnings also this year, it cannot be excluded that market conditions might deteriorate and affect the targeted earnings momentum.

Development of the Business Segments

Metro Cash & Carry with double-digit earnings growth

Sales of Metro Cash & Carry in financial year 2010 rose by 1.6% to € 31.1 billion (in local currency: -0.6%). The wholesale segment is meanwhile generating 82.9% of its sales abroad. EBIT before special items soared by 17.9% to € 1,104 million. This strong earnings growth is mainly attributable to margin improvements and cost savings. The EBIT margin before special items climbed from 3.1% to 3.6%. With this result, Metro Cash & Carry once again demonstrated its strong earnings power.

The positive development of sales and earnings is increasingly driven by an enhanced productivity. In 2010, the field service of Metro Cash & Carry in Germany and some Western European countries was significantly stepped up. Thanks to the additional expert advisors sales and customer frequency improved distinctly, e.g. by a good double-digit percentage value in Spain. Also the delivery business was extended further. Metro Cash & Carry again raosed its own brand share to now 13.3%. At the beginning of the year in addition also the administration of the 60 Schaper stores in Germany was integrated into the organisation of Metro Cash & Carry and thereby simplified.

With the divestment of the eight locations in Morocco, Metro Cash & Carry generated a one-off contribution to earnings in the mid-double-digit million range. At the same time, this move shows that METRO GROUP consistently measures the performance of its national subsidiaries on the basis of earnings targets and also takes severe measures in case of lacking growth perspectives.

Real: earnings more than doubled

Sales of Real in the year 2010 improved by 1.8% to € 11.5 billion (in local currency: +0.2%). EBIT before special items more than doubled from € 52 million to € 132 million. The EBIT margin before special items rose distinctly from 0.5% to 1.1%. Real Germany again improved its own brand share and further drove its repositioning. In Eastern Europe, Shape 2012 resulted in productivity gains, especially in Russia and in Turkey as well as in cost savings in Romania. The Management Board reiterated the target for Real to achieve a return on investment of two to three percent in the medium term. "In 2007, Real was in a very poor shape. We have made significant progress during the past three years. Real is now again a business with potential and new options - among them also the option that Real remains a part of METRO GROUP in the long term", said Cordes.

Media Saturn: rollout of own brands and market entry into China
Media Markt and Saturn confirmed their leading market position in Europe also in the year 2010. Sales climbed by 5.6% to € 20.8 billion (in local currency: +4.3%). EBIT before special items rose by 2.8% to € 625 million. At 3.0%, the EBIT margin before special items remained almost at the prior-year level (3.1%). Besides its market entry into China, Media Markt achieved a further strategic milestone with the rollout of its own brands. 2010 saw the launch of the brands "ok." (price entry segment) and KOENIC (premium household appliances). The customer feedback was extremely positive. The brands "PEAQ" (consumer electronics) and "ISY" (accessories) are to follow in 2011. The four new exclusive brands cater to all price segments and thus in particular offer customers a good price-performance ratio. With the divestment of the Saturn stores in France also the strategic portfolio optimisation was driven further in 2010.

Galeria Kaufhof raises earnings for the sixth consecutive year

In the year 2010, sales of Galeria Kaufhof rose by 1.3% to € 3.6 billion despite the closure of three department stores. EBIT before special items shot up 16.5% to € 138 million. The EBIT margin before special items improved again from 3.4% to 3.9%. Galeria Kaufhof benefited from the localisation of assortments and the trading-up strategy. In addition, it succeeded in distinctly reducing its net working capital. Inventories are reduced faster. In addition to a lower capital tie-up this also renders the offer presented to the customer more attractive, especially due to more frequently changing clothing collections. Thanks to the cooperation with Wolfgang Joop and a successful advertising campaign during the Christmas season also the emotional aspect of the Galeria Kaufhof brand was strengthened.

METRO Group Asset Management places own real estate fund

In 2010, EBIT before special items of METRO Group Asset Management rose from € 551 million to € 698 million, corresponding to an increase of 26.8%. This makes Real Estate one of the most profitable entities of METRO GROUP The earnings improvement reflects the higher lease income as a consequence of the expansion of Metro Cash & Carry as well as proceeds from an active portfolio management. In 2010, the company for the first time placed its own real estate fund in Italy with a volume of around € 300 million.

METRO AG

METRO GROUP is one of the largest and most international retailing companies. In 2010 the Group reached sales of around € 67 billion. The company has a headcount of some 283,000 employees and operates more than 2,100 stores in 33 countries. The Group's performance is based on the strength of its sales brands which operate independently in their respective market segment: Metro/Makro Cash & Carry - the international leader in self-service wholesale, Real hypermarkets, Media Markt and Saturn - European market leader in consumer electronics retailing, and Galeria Kaufhof department stores. More information at: www.metrogroup.de.

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