September 21, 2017 / 10:23 AM / in a month

Metro denies report it could delist after split

BERLIN (Reuters) - German retailer Metro, recently demerged from consumer electronics group Ceconomy, denied a report on Thursday that is chief executive has held talks about a possible delisting from the stock exchange.

Customers are seen at the cash desk of a Metro cash and carry store in Kiev, Ukraine, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Metro, which runs wholesale stores in 35 countries as well as Real hypermarkets in Germany, listed separately from Ceconomy in July but has seen its share price sag since then.

The stock jumped almost 5 percent after Manager Magazin said it considered delisting, but pared those gains to trade up 1.9 percent at 1024 GMT after a Metro spokesman rejected the report.

Without citing its sources, the magazine said CEO Olaf Koch had held talks with financial investors - including KKR - in recent weeks about a possible delisting, adding that Koch was unhappy about the share price fall since the split.

Koch had hoped the split from Ceconomy would trigger a revaluation of the stock, which has long traded at a big conglomerate discount to pure wholesale retailers such as Sysco and Booker.

The magazine said part of the plan could be to focus a privately-held Metro much more strongly on its business customers and build up its online delivery business. Metro denied any plans to abandon its stores.

The company reported a recovery in quarterly sales last month, helped by fast-growing online and delivery services, but its shares took a hit after it saw a decline in its Russia business that is a major driver of profits.

Koch noted then the share was suffering after it temporarily lost its slot in the German mid-cap index following the demerger and said it was up to the company to win over investors by producing several quarters of solid results.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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