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German retailer Metro/AFP


German retailer Metro says profits up strongly in Q1

German retailer Metro/AFP

German retailer Metro/AFP

FRANKFURT, Feb 11 – German retail and distribution giant Metro said on Tuesday it was confident of meeting its full-year targets after profits were up strongly in the first quarter.

“We have set a solid foundation for reaching our full-year 2013/14 guidance,” said chief executive Olaf Koch in a statement.

Metro runs its business year from October to September and in the three months to December, net profit leapt to 451 million euros ($616 million) from 36 million euros a year earlier.

But the strong increase was largely because the year-earlier figure had been hit by one-off charges relating to the sale of French unit Auchan, the Real supermarkets in eastern Europe and the closure of the electronic goods stores in China.

Underlying or operating profit, as measured by earnings before interest and tax, declined by 15.7 percent to 1.073 billion euros.

Sales declined by 3.3 percent to 18.721 billion euros, weighed down largely by the strong euro.

At constant exchange rates, first-quarter sales would have risen by 1.4 percent, Metro calculated.

“As expected, we generated more than half of our targeted full year EBIT in the important first quarter,” said CEO Koch.

Looking ahead to the full year, Metro said it projected operating profit to reach 1.75 billion euros and a “slight rise” in sales in local currency terms.

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