- EBIT before special items rises by nearly 20% to more than € 2.4 billion
- International expansion pushed on
- Shape 2012 strengthens growth course
- Higher dividend of € 1.35 per common share proposed
- Progress report on sustainability 2010 presented
METRO GROUP is presenting the best result in its company history for the business year 2010 at today’s Annual General Meeting. "We achieved a rise in our EBIT before special items of 20% - which is significantly stronger than our sales growth. So we are already now reaping part of the fruits of our restructuring efforts", said Dr Eckhard Cordes, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG to the shareholders in Düsseldorf. In order to let the shareholders reasonably partake in this success, an increased dividend of € 1.35 per share of common stock was proposed. With a view to the future success of METRO GROUP, Cordes stressed that it will be closely linked with the success of the group-wide sustainability strategy. The company presents its varied commitment in this sector in the progress report on sustainability 2010 published today.
Consolidated sales of the METRO GROUP of € 67.3bn exceeded the prior-year mark by € 2.6%. International expansion was advanced further with the opening of 100 new stores. Meanwhile METRO GROUP achieves 61% of its sales outside Germany. The wholesale division Metro Cash & Carry even boosted the international share in sales to around 83%. EBIT of METRO GROUP before special items, of € 2.4bn, surpassed the previous year’s level by 19.3%. "We have not been passive during the past crisis years but pro-actively drove change with Shape 2012 and seized the opportunities to enhance our value and step up growth. We are now stronger than before the crisis", asserted Cordes. METRO GROUP started Shape 2012 two years ago in order to render the company even more efficient, customer-oriented and international. Since the start of the programme the company already achieved an additional contribution to earnings of € 527 million. For the year 2011, Cordes confirmed the target to reach a growth in sales of more than 4% and in EBIT, of around 10%. The rate of increase in earnings essentially depended on the improvement of the macroeconomic framework conditions, he said.
In all business areas, METRO GROUP prompted significant changes with Shape 2012. Worldwide, so far around 7,500 individual initiatives have been deployed. Besides cost savings, METRO GROUP is now increasingly heading for productivity enhancement. "Strict cost management is a precondition for survival in retailing, but only the continuous development of the business model will make the difference between the better and the good", Cordes emphasised.
This ongoing development also means online business for METRO GROUP. In 2010, Media Markt and Saturn launched their online activities in Austria and the Netherlands. In Germany, Saturn will start its internet business in the second half of 2011, Media Markt at the beginning of 2012. At the end of March 2011, Media Markt and Saturn additionally acquired Redcoon, one of the internationally leading online retailers for consumer electronics. Besides the so-called multi-channel concept for Media Markt and Saturn, thus an exclusive online retailer is included in the portfolio. "We see online business not as a threat but as an opportunity for us. We set the clear target of becoming a strong player also in this new form of retailing", Cordes stressed.
The positive course of business in 2010 is also reflected in the development of the Metro share. Its strong performance in the period under review, with a plus of 26.6%, clearly outperforms the value trend of the German stock index DAX. In order that the shareholders may reasonably participate in the development of earnings, the Management Board and the Supervisory Board proposed an increased dividend of € 1.35 per share of common stock and of € 1.485 per preferred share.
METRO GROUP was also successful in enhancing its sustainability management. This is documented in the progress report on sustainability 2010 published today. By reducing CO2 emissions by 3%, METRO GROUP is approaching more and more its climate protection target. The climate balance was positively influenced mainly by improvements in energy management and paper consumption. The company further extended its training programmes for suppliers in emerging markets by training 20,000 farmers and 6,000 own employees in Asia in the subjects of traceability and food safety.
Another important sustainability issue for METRO GROUP is an improved work-life balance for its own employees. Already today, METRO GROUP boasts a share of 18.6% women in management positions, thus ranking above the average of the DAX companies. "We plan to distinctly raise this share further. Instead of opting for a quota system, we are improving the general conditions for the professional activity of female executives", Cordes said. The Group headquarters in Düsseldorf already offer two daycare centres for children, a third one will follow in 2012. In addition, the sales divisions plan cooperation partnerships with local daycare centres.