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Metro Jumps as Haniel Sale Lifts Stock Overhang: Frankfurt Mover

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Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Metro AG rose the most since November in Frankfurt trading after Franz Haniel & Cie GmbH reduced its stake in Germany’s biggest retailer, removing a burden that had hung over the stock for more than two months.

Haniel, based in Duisburg, Germany, cut its stake to 30.01 percent from 34.24 percent, according to a statement today. The investor said Nov. 28 that its supervisory board approved the sale of 4.24 percent of Metro over the next 18 months.

“Investors were waiting for the sale to be completed to buy the stock to avoid any overhang risk,” Fabio Fazzari, an analyst at Equita SIM SpA, said by phone. “The completion might also have come a bit sooner than investors expected.”

Metro shares jumped as much as 4.8 percent to 23.59 euros, the steepest intraday advance since Nov. 21. The stock traded up 3.6 percent as of 10:46 a.m. in Frankfurt.

Haniel said it generated about 300 million euros ($406.2 million) from the sale. The investor also cut its stake in drug wholesaler Celesio AG in November to reduce debt.

Metro shares tumbled 26 percent last year, sliding after the retailer cut its 2012 profit forecast in October because of weakening economies in southern Europe and parts of eastern Europe. It forecast 2012 earnings before interest, tax and other items of about 2 billion euros.

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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