- Sales and earnings targets for financial year 2014/15 achieved
- Balance sheet significantly strengthened with divestment of
Galeria Kaufhof and METRO Cash & Carry Vietnam
- Realignment of the business models further accelerated
- Proposed dividend of €1.00 per ordinary share (2013/14: €0.90)
- Supervisory Board elections
At today’s Annual General Meeting of METRO AG, the Chairman of the Management Board, Olaf Koch, presented to the shareholders a significantly strengthened METRO GROUP in both operational and balance sheet terms. The Düsseldorf-based wholesale and retail group achieved its financial targets for financial year 2014/15 on the one hand, and also made further progress regarding the realignment of its business models, on the other. The company managed to stabilise the positive operational trend with the expansion of the strongly growing delivery and online business, among other things. "In financial year 2014/15 we succeeded in significantly enhancing the attractiveness for our customers", said Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG. "Now that the consolidation of METRO GROUP has been largely completed, we are optimally prepared for a new growth phase in terms of both, balance sheet and financial position. We will therefore invest increasingly into the further development of our stores, into promising acquisitions and new ideas so as to be able to offer our customers continually better assortments, services and shopping experiences."
Besides finalising important portfolio adjustment activities such as the divestment of Galeria Kaufhof, METRO GROUP was able to improve its like-for-like sales by 1.5%. EBIT before special items came in at € 1,511 million and grew adjusted for negative currency effects. The net debt was significantly reduced by €2.2 billion year-on-year. To let the shareholders participate in the positive business trend, today’s Annual General Meeting is asked to resolve about a proposed dividend of €1.00 per ordinary share.
METRO GROUP also made important progress in the field of digitalisation during the financial year 2014/15. To be able to offer commercial customers of METRO Cash & Carry new services and technologies in future, METRO GROUP started the Techstars METRO Accelerator. This support program is jointly conducted with the US company Techstars, one of the most renowned start-up networks in the world, as well as the digital agency R/GA. The Techstars METRO Accelerator addresses founders with innovative technological applications for hotels, restaurants and caterers, the so called Horeca segment. In October 2015, the Techstars METRO Accelerator had elected eleven innovative start-ups from among hundreds of applications to support hotel and restaurant operators in developing their businesses further. Also Media-Saturn initiated an accelerator programme in 2015. The so-called Spacelab is to support start-ups in the electronics/retail sector. Four particularly service-oriented start-ups have meanwhile been selected whose business ideas have already been tested in pilot co-operations with select Media-Saturn stores.
Sound start into financial year 2015/16
In the first quarter of the current financial year like-for-like sales of METRO GROUP increased by 0.1%. On account of currency developments – in particular relating to the Russian rouble – the reported sales declined by 1.3% to € 17.1 billion (Q1 2014/15: €17.3 billion). Reported EBIT for the first quarter 2015/16 benefitted from the successfully completed divestment of the cash and carry business in Vietnam and grew appreciably to reach €1,240 million (Q1 2014/15: €876 million). That way, METRO GROUP further strengthened both its balance sheet and its financial position. Net debt stood at €0.1 billion, the lowest value since the founding of METRO AG. Also the operating performance, and here especially like-for-like sales at METRO Cash & Carry and Media-Saturn, was pleasing despite economic headwinds in some regions.
For financial year 2015/16, METRO GROUP continues to expect a slight increase in total sales despite the persistently challenging economic environment. In terms of like-for-like sales, METRO GROUP remains confident to achieve a slight increase following the 1.5% gain in the year earlier. EBIT before special items is expected to rise slightly above the value from financial year 2014/15 where it stood at €1,511 million including proceeds from real estate divestments.
Supervisory Board elections
The agenda of today’s Annual General Meeting also includes elections to the Supervisory Board. Proposed for election as a shareholder representative on the Supervisory Board of METRO AG is Jürgen B. Steinemann who has already been a member of this panel since September 2015. After his appointment by court order Steinemann succeeded Dr. Wulf H. Bernotat who had resigned from his office as a Supervisory Board member. Jürgen B. Steinemann had served as CEO of Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s largest producer of chocolate and cocoa products with headquarters in Zurich until the end of September 2015. He will continue to exercise his duties as a non-executive member of the Board of Directors of Barry Callbaut AG. Steinemann (56) is in addition also a non-executive member of the Board of Directors of Lonza Group AG, Switzerland. If re-elected to the Supervisory Board, it is planned that Jürgen B. Steinemann will stand for the office of Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Against the backdrop of the stake reduction of Haniel and the termination of the so-called pool agreement between the shareholders Haniel and Schmidt-Ruthenbeck last year, the incumbent Chairman of the Supervisory Board of METRO AG, Franz Markus Haniel, had decided to put the chair of the Supervisory Board into the hands of an external shareholder representative.
Proposed for re-election to the Supervisory Board of METRO AG are Prof. Dr. oec. Dr. iur. Ann-Kristin Achleitner as well as Peter Küpfer, whose term as shareholder representatives on the Supervisory Board in each case ends with the close of the Annual General Meeting 2016.
Karin Dohm, Global Head of Group Structuring at Deutsche Bank AG, is proposed for election as new member representing the shareholders on the Supervisory Board of METRO AG. Karin Dohm has been serving as Global Head of Group Structuring at Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt since January 2016. In this role, she is in particular responsible for the company’s structural realignment, also with a view to the requirements by the regulatory bodies regarding resolution and reorganisation measures and the Strategy 2020. Before that, she held the position of CFO of the bank’s Global Transaction Banking after serving as Head of Group External Reporting with responsibility for the bank’s financial and regulatory reporting. Before transferring to Deutsche Bank in 2011 she worked as a partner with Deloitte. Karin Dohm has been a member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Euroshop AG, an M-Dax-listed company, since 2012 and its Deputy Chairperson since 2015.