Metro's CEO 'has no plans to break up company'

FRANKFURT, Germany - German retailer Metro AG's chief executive Olaf Koch sees growth potential for all parts of the group and has no plans to break it up to focus on its cash and carry business, he said in a newspaper interview published on Friday.

"I am not thinking about that because I am not a friend of break-up strategies. I am certain that we can reach sustainable earnings improvement in all divisions," Boersen-Zeitung quoted Koch as saying.

Metro, which operates cash and carries, supermarkets, department stores and Europe's biggest consumer electronics chain, is in the midst of rationalising its portfolio and cutting costs to improve its position as well as profits.

Koch said he saw Metro's cash and carries in Germany, of which he took direct control to manage a turnaround, stabilising in 2014. He also said prospects for Metro's Real hypermarkets in Germany were "really good", adding he had no plans to sell them.

To improve its bottom line Metro is also trying to reduce its annual interest bill.

Koch said a 500 million euro ($656 million) bond issued in 2008, carrying a coupon of 9.375 percent, would not be replaced when it matures later this year, and Metro will try to refinance "as little as possible" of a 5.75 percent bond running out next year.

Koch also said there were "clear signs for stability and continuity" from anchor shareholders, which include family-owned conglomerate Haniel, which decided late last year to reduce its stake in Metro. ($1 = 0.7623 euros)

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