Metro says quarterly profit off by 15.4 percent

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German retail giant Metro posted Monday a 15.4 percent drop in second quarter net profit to 44 million euros (57 million dollars), well below analyst's forecasts owing to restructuring charges and higher interest payments.

An average forecast compiled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected net profit of 87 million euros for the world's third biggest retailer behind Wal-Mart and Carrefour.

Metro's sales gained 2.4 percent to 15.7 billion euros, however, while core earnings before special items were 5.6 percent higher at 334 million euros, a statement said. The latter figure was slightly better than expected.

The group said its operating environment varied from region to region in the three-month period, with "emerging markets in Asia reported again very high growth dynamics."

European markets were burdened meanwhile by "high fiscal deficits, as well as the necessary savings measures for consolidating public budgets".

For all of 2010, Metro expects sales to exceed last year's weak level of 65.5 billion euros, but "still fall short of the medium-term target level of six percent growth per year."

Core earnings before special items should "tangibly exceed the 2009 level" of roughly two billion euros.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story --

© 2010 AFP

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