Metro AG CEO says may not cut dividend -paper

FRANKFURT Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:53am EST

FRANKFURT Nov 20 (Reuters) - Metro AG expects to significantly improve its cash flow this year, even as profits fall, which may help it to safeguard its dividend payout, the German retailer's chief executive told a newspaper.

"On the basis of cash flow the conditions have improved compared with a year earlier," CEO Olaf Koch told Handelsblatt newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday, when asked whether Metro would cut its dividend.

Metro paid a dividend of 1.35 euros ($1.73) per share for 2011. Analysts on average expect a 2012 dividend of 1.31 euros, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. ($1 = 0.7803 euros) (Reporting by Maria Sheahan)