METRO raises 2007 sales forecast
This morning Metro Group has reported that from January to September it generated sales of EUR46.0 billion (USD61.7 billion) significantly higher than in the nine month period in 2006 (EUR41.5 billion USD55.6 billion), corresponding to an increase of 10.8%. EBIT amounted to EUR742 million (USD995 million), an increase of 0.2% in comparison with last year. Earnings before taxes declined by 4.2% to EUR382 million (USD512.5 million). In the third quarter sales growth amounted to 10.8% (adjusted for currency effects: +10.1%) despite a negative calendar effect due to a missing trading day compared to last year. In Q3 2007 organic growth (excluding the acquisitions of Wal-Mart Germany and Géant in Poland) was 7.1% and above the medium-term growth target of the group of around 6% p.a. The group's EBIT amounted to EUR323 million (USD433.3 million) up by 14.8%.
Sales in Germany rose by 7.4% to EUR19.5 billion (USD26.1 million) in the first nine months. Despite the reduction in purchasing power due to the VAT increase at the beginning of 2007, organic sales growth was 0.4%. Regardless of the negative calendar effect, sales grew by 6.9% in Q3 2007. Organic sales growth was above the rate in H1 2007 and was 0.5%. However only Media Markt/Saturn contributed positive like-for-like sales growth of 2.6% in the quarter while all other formats experienced negative like-for-like sales growth. The international share of sales reached nearly 59%. In international, sales grew in the first nine months by 13.5% to EUR26.5 billion (adjusted for currency effects: +13.0%). Organically, international sales grew by 11.9%. In Q3 sales grew by 13.6% to EUR9.2 billion (USD12.34 billion) (adjusted for currency effects: +12.4%). Organic sales growth amounted to 12.0%.
The group increased its guidance for 2007 to a sales growth of more than 9% (instead of 8% to 9%) while EBIT growth guidance was left unchanged at 6% to 8%. "The growth driver continues to be our international business," Chief Financial Officer Thomas Unger told reporters, adding that business in October had gone to plan. Mr Unger said there were no new developments regarding Extra but Metro was still mulling all options, including a sale. "Every option is possible. I don't wish to elaborate." At Real, Metro said it had finished integrating 71 of the 85 Wal-Mart stores.
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