August 14, 2018 / 5:43 AM / in a year

UPDATE 2-German retailer Ceconomy to review pace of expansion in Turkey

* Plans for another 20 stores in Turkey in doubt

* To cut 250 mln euros in costs in next 5 years

* Takes Metro impairment of 138 mln euros

* Q3 sales down 1 pct to 4.598 bln

* Shares down 1.5 pct (Adds comments from CEO, CFO)

By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN, Aug 14 (Reuters) - German consumer electronics retailer Ceconomy said it will reconsider its rapid pace of expansion in Turkey in light of the lira’s recent collapse, but saw no reason to change its long-term view on the country’s prospects.

Turkey has been a driver of Ceconomy’s expansion and profit growth in the past few years but Chief Executive Pieter Haas said the company will now review plans to open up to another 20 stores there in the next few years.

Sixty nine of Ceconomy’s more than 1,000 Media Markt and Saturn stores are in Turkey and concerns about its Turkish business helped send Ceconomy shares down 6 percent by 0900 GMT.

“Whether it makes sense to keep investing at this speed will depend on how things go in the coming weeks and months,” Haas told reporters on Tuesday after third-quarter results. “We have certain concerns but no reason to adjust our long-term view of Turkey.”

Turkey’s lira currency, which has lost more than 40 percent of its value this year, crashed on Friday on concerns about President Tayyip Erdogan’s grip on monetary policy and a widening dispute with the United States.

Despite the lira’s weakness, Haas said Ceconomy saw sales growth in Turkey in its fiscal third quarter as it gained market share, adding its stores remain well positioned even if the financial turmoil might weigh on the economy.

Analysts at Bankhaus Lampe said Turkey had helped boost Ceconomy’s profitability in April-June, but added it feared the fall of the lira would weigh on results in the next quarter.

Ceconomy said its third-quarter sales slipped 1 percent from a year earlier to 4.598 billion euros ($5.3 billion), but rose 1 percent after currency effects. They were supported by 15.5 percent growth in currency-adjusted sales in eastern Europe, including Turkey, while its core markets in western Europe stagnated.

Ceconomy, which bolstered its balance sheet in June when telecoms firm Freenet took a stake, said it would cut 250 million euros from costs in the next five years.

It reported a fiscal third quarter loss per share of 0.32 euros after it took an impairment of 138 million euros on its 10 percent stake in Metro, the wholesale and hypermarket retailer it split from last year.

Metro’s share price has been hit by its woes in Russia, but it recovered some ground earlier this month after the retailer raised hopes that its shrinking Russian business had turned a corner despite a quarterly drop in profit and sales.

Ceconomy could use the Metro stake to help cover its pension obligations, but could also sell it and has yet to reach a decision, finance chief Mark Frese said.

The firm stuck by its 2017/18 outlook for a slight increase in sales and a low to medium single-digit percentage rise in earnings before interest and taxation. ($1 = 0.8760 euros) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson Editing by Victoria Bryan and Susan Fenton)

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