Metro Quarterly Profit Drops as Debt Crisis Weighs on Spending

Metro AG, Germany’s biggest retailer, reported a decline in third-quarter earnings as Europe’s debt crisis weighed on consumer spending and the retailer realized less income from real estate assets.

Earnings before interest and taxes before special items fell 35 percent to 398 million euros ($513 million), the Dusseldorf-based company said today in a statement. That missed the 415.3 million-euro average estimate of 14 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

“Metro Group’s earnings in particular reflect the impact of the general economic situation in southern Europe and parts of eastern Europe” Metro said in a statement today. “Roughly half of the decline in earnings is attributable to significantly lower income from real estate divestments.”

The retailer lowered its 2012 Ebit forecast to about 2 billion euros on Oct. 5, saying that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis is weighing on sales in the south and east of the region. Metro said at the time that consumer electronics are particularly affected by a worsening economic environment.

Metro reported net income of 77 million euros compared to 190 million euros in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 0.6 percent to 15.9 billion euros. That was in line with the 15.87 billion-euro average estimate of 16 analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 2 percent adjusted for the disposal of Makro UK, the company said.

Metro AG (MEO) agreed to sell its Makro U.K. wholesale unit to Booker Group Plc (BOK) for 139.7 million pounds in cash and shares in May to concentrate on its main businesses.

The shares have slumped 24 percent this year, and the stock left Germany’s benchmark DAX index last month. Metro fell 2.9 percent to 21.43 euros yesterday.

To contact the reporters on this story: Julie Cruz in Frankfurt at jcruz6@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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