Duisburg, 24 August 2018. Today, Haniel Finance Deutschland GmbH, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH (Haniel), signed an agreement to sell 7.3 per cent of the issued ordinary shares of METRO AG to EP Global Commerce GmbH (EPGC), Germany. Haniel, the largest single shareholder of METRO AG, has also agreed with EPGC that they may acquire up to 15.2 per cent of the issued ordinary shares of METRO AG under a call option. For EPCG and METRO, new perspectives are now opening up in a demanding but nonetheless promising market.
"Haniel has long since endeavored to diversify, balance and grow its portfolio of companies. Against this background and after careful consideration we have decided that it will be beneficial to METRO AG to attract new investors. We are now pleased that with the two EPGC owners Patrik Tkáč and Daniel Křetínský we have gained professional entrepreneurs with significant investment experience and familiarity with the German market. EPGC considers the food wholesale and retail business of METRO AG an excellent basis for future development. We welcome Mr Tkáč and Mr Křetínský as new investors of the METRO AG and wish them every conceivable success," says Stephan Gemkow, CEO of Haniel.
For more than 50 years, including the last decade as largest single shareholder, Haniel has accompanied the Düsseldorf-based group. During that time, METRO has developed from a regional German wholesaler to one of Europe's largest wholesalers and retailers. Following the demerger of the METRO GROUP into METRO AG and CECONOMY AG in July 2017, METRO AG now focuses on wholesale, food distribution and food retailing. Haniel's involvement in CECONOMY AG remains unaffected by this transaction.
The agreement consists of two components: approximately 7.3 per cent of the ordinary shares of METRO AG will be transferred upon receipt of antitrust clearance. For the remaining 15.2 per cent of the ordinary shares of METRO AG, a call option has been agreed. Haniel will use the transaction proceeds for further strategic portfolio development.
Daniel Křetínský: "We are very proud to have the opportunity to become an important shareholder of METRO AG and we wish to express our sincere thanks to the Haniel Group for having chosen us as their partner for this transaction. We are aware of the dynamic environment in which METRO AG operates, both in terms of the challenges related to certain geographies and in terms of the evolving needs and requirements of the company's customers, including digitalisation and related customer solutions. Nonetheless, we are confident that thanks to the company's extraordinary know-how and its qualified and loyal employees, as well as its exceptional relationship with a massive customer base and the strength of its brands, the company will be able to find the right strategic answer to those dynamics. With regard to our call option on the second tranche of the Haniel Group's shareholding in METRO AG, we intend to use the call option period to confirm our belief that we, as shareholders, could play a positive role for the company and support its future development in the right way. Subject to affirmative findings, we intend to exercise the call option. Also, we do not exclude future acquisitions of additional shares in the company."
EP Global Commerce (EPGC) is an acquisition entity owned by the two investment partners, Patrik Tkáč (47 per cent), and Daniel Křetínský (53 per cent). EPGC has been advised by goetzpartners in the transaction.
Mr Tkáč is a co-founder and co-owner of the J&T group of companies, an international financial and private banking services provider and investment group active namely in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Mr Křetínský is a controlling shareholder, chairman and CEO of Energeticky a prumyslovy holding, a.s. (EPH), an international energy and infrastructure group based in the Czech Republic. The two shareholders have enjoyed a very long-lasting relationship, as both were originally involved with the J&T group and were co-shareholders of EPH for many years. They continue to hold joint investments, also together with other co-investors, in media and e-commerce ventures throughout several European countries.
The parties have agreed not to disclose the agreed purchase price. The agreement between Haniel and EPGC is subject to the approval of the Supervisory Board of Haniel and subject to antitrust clearance.
The complete press release you will find here.