METRO AG increased like-for-like sales in the financial year 2017/18 by 0.7%. Due to negative currency effects, reported sales decreased by 1.6% to €36.5 billion. EBITDA excluding earnings contributions from real estate transactions reached €1,396 million (2016/17: €1,436 million). Adjusted for currency effects, EBITDA excluding earnings contributions from real estate transactions rose by 1.2%. Hence METRO reached its adjusted guidance. The adjustment of the guidance in April 2018 resulted from reduced expectations for the Russian business and the termination of the temporary tariff agreement between Verdi and Real. "Overall, the financial year 2017/18 was a successful one for METRO. We have made significant progress in many areas but also had to overcome a number of unexpected challenges. We have come very far in our transformation to focus fully on the wholesale business, which showed positive like-for-like growth for the fifth year in a row", said Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG. "Thanks to the measures initiated for our Russian business, we were able to prove in the second half of the year that we can tackle and solve challenges. Likewise, we have put in place the best conditions to allow Real to have a successful, independent future on its own. This sale process is making good progress. Next year we are going to be very active once again. Our priorities are the continuing focus on our key target groups HoReCa and Trader, as well as the expansion of our digital business."
A dividend of €0.70 per share will be proposed at the annual general meeting. In order to provide the shareholders an attractive dividend yield and dividend continuity, as well as to demonstrate our trust in the future of METRO, the dividend proposal corresponds to 74% of EPS and thus exceeds the distribution quota of 45-55% of EPS provided for in METRO's dividend policy.
The hypermarket business, which is for sale, is reported as discontinued operations as of 30 September 2018, due to the ongoing sales process. Within the scope of the required annual audit, the goodwill of €64 million attributed to Real was impaired in full. Adjusted for this non-cash relevant impairment the earnings per share improved by more than 20% to €1.08.
The discontinued operations primarily include Real and some other individual companies or assets. All following explanations of the business development will focus on the continued operations unless stated otherwise.
For further information please see the attached press release.