At today's Annual General Meeting of METRO AG, the Chairman of the Management Board Olaf Koch presented first successes of the company's customer-orientated realignment to the shareholders. Thanks to the intensive expansion of the delivery and multichannel activities, the improvement of the product assortments and their price position as well as the further strengthening of the own brands, sales and earnings of METRO GROUP in the financial year ended up in line with the guidance. "In 2012, our services and processes in all sales lines were focused on creating customer value", said Koch. "Despite a further tightening of market conditions, especially in Southern Europe, we managed to increase sales and win market share in numerous countries. This confirms us that we are on the right track with the strategic initiatives implemented. We will continue to build on this in 2013". In the first quarter of the new financial year, METRO GROUP reported a slight plus in sales adjusted for portfolio changes, and improved earnings.
In financial year 2012, METRO GROUP achieved a solid overall performance in a challenging economic environment. Group sales climbed by 1.2% to €66.7 billion, adjusted for portfolio measures sales grew by 2.3%. EBIT before special items reached €1.976 billion. The proposal to the Annual General Meeting is to pay a dividend of €1.00 euro per ordinary share for the financial year 2012. This corresponds to a payout ratio of 52.9% up from 51.3% the year before. The dividend per preferred share is to amount to €1.06. Also in 2012, METRO GROUP has appreciably streamlined its portfolio in order to focus even more on the core business activities: the operations of MAKRO Cash & Carry in the United Kingdom were divested in the same way as the activities of Real International (excluding Turkey). In addition, the test phase of Media Markt in China was ended. These measures involve one-off expenses that impacted the net profit for the year 2012. "The fundamental changes which we have implemented in the year under review represent investments in the future and in the future growth of the company. In the medium term, the positive effects will more than compensate the special items now reported", stressed Koch.
During the period from January to March 2013, METRO GROUP generated sales of €15.5 billion (Q1 2012: €15.6 billion). This corresponds to a slight drop by 0.9% (in local currency: -0.7%) which is also owed to three trading days less as compared to the prior-year quarter. Adjusted for the already completed and announced portfolio changes (MAKRO Cash & Carry in the United Kingdom, Real Eastern Europe and Media Markt China), sales increased by 0.7%. Also in the first quarter 2013, METRO GROUP has consistently expanded the measures for a customer-orientated realignment of the company. At METRO Cash & Carry, delivery sales climbed significantly by 15.9% and reached €586 million (Q1 2012: €504 million). Also online sales continued to develop very dynamically: at Media-Saturn, online sales went up by 60.6% to €281 million thereby for the first time reaching a share of more than 5% in total sales of Media-Saturn. Galeria Kaufhof has more than doubled its online sales over the year-earlier period.
For the stub financial year 2013, METRO GROUP anticipates a generally moderate sales growth (adjusted for portfolio changes) despite the persistently challenging economic environment. In terms of EBIT before special items, the company expects to achieve a value above the prior-year period (€706 million), including higher capital gains from real estate transactions.
The agenda of today's Annual General Meeting also featured the elections to the Supervisory Board. Proposed for re-election are Dr. Wulf H. Bernotat, Jürgen Fitschen, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Erich Greipl, Mattheus P. M. (Theo) de Raad as well as Dr. jur. Hans-Jürgen Schinzler, whose term of office representing the shareholders on the Supervisory Board ends with the close of the Annual General Meeting 2013. A new member of the Supervisory Board of METRO AG to be elected is Dame Lucy Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG. With the election of Ms. Neville-Rolfe, the total share of female Supervisory Board members will climb to 25% since also the employee representatives will raise the share of women on the Board and send three female members. This way, the company has more than satisfied its target. Already back in the year 2010, the Supervisory Board of METRO AG had resolved on a women quota for its own composition: in the Supervisory Board elections 2013, in a first step 20% of the mandates were to be filled with women. For the year 2018, a share of female members of at least 30% is targeted.
For METRO GROUP, protecting the climate and natural resources is an important sustainability issue. In financial year 2012 the company adopted a new, group-wide climate protection target: until the year 2020, the specific greenhouse gas emissions per square meter of sales floor are to be reduced by 20 per cent as compared to 2011. With this measure, METRO GROUP is not only reducing its carbon footprint, but also successfully addressing continually rising energy costs.