In 2015, the METRO GROUP financial investment made great strides in focusing its portfolio with the sale of the Galeria Kaufhof sales line and the METRO Cash & Carry activities in Vietnam. Revenue, adjusted for business acquisitions and disposals as well as currency translation effects, was increased. Currency translation effects negatively impacted this positive business development, reducing revenue and operating profit before one-offs. Haniel’s investment result from the METRO GROUP benefited from disposal gains from the sales of Galeria Kaufhof and METRO Cash & Carry Vietnam, and was significantly above the previous year.

Galeria Kaufhof and METRO Cash & Carry Vietnam sold
The METRO GROUP focused its portfolio in 2015, selling the Galeria Kaufhof sales line to the Canadian Hudson’s Bay Company and the METRO Cash & Carry activities in Vietnam to TCC in Thailand. The proceeds from both disposals reduced the METRO GROUP’s debt markedly and enable greater investments in the remaining sales lines in order to ensure future profitable growth.

The METRO GROUP also made significant progress with respect to its strategic initiatives in 2015. For example, delivery revenue at METRO Cash & Carry as well as revenue generated online at Media-Saturn increased by substantially more than 10 per cent each. In addition, the METRO GROUP expanded its involvement in the start-up segment and fostered potentially trailblazing digital and technological innovations for gastronomy with the “Techstars METRO Accelerator”. Additionally, Media-Saturn’s “Spacelab” supports young innovative companies with respect to Media-Saturn’s entire value chain – from the logistics application to innovative accessories.

Revenue increased organically
The METRO GROUP’s revenue amounted to EUR 58,991 million in 2015 – excluding the Galeria Kaufhof sales line, which is presented as a discontinued operation and is therefore not included in either revenue or operating profit. Revenue was hence 1 per cent below the previous year’s level due to negative currency translation effects and disposals of companies. Organic revenue growth – like-for-like; adjusted for business acquisitions and disposals and currency translation effects – amounted to 1 per cent.

Revenue at Metro Cash & Carry fell by 2 per cent. This was primarily due to negative currency translation effects – in particular as a result of the exchange rate trend of the Russian rouble. In addition, the lack of revenue contributions due to the sale of the activities in Vietnam and Greece as well as the discontinuance of locations in Denmark added to this decline. In contrast, a positive impact was driven by new store openings, in particular in Russia and India, as well as by a slight organic revenue growth. Positive developments in several southern European countries as well as the strong holiday shopping season in Germany contributed to this growth. A sharper focus on the needs of professional customers enabled, among other things, the further successful expansion of the delivery business. An important milestone was the takeover of Classic Fine Foods, a leading provider in the growing grocery delivery business, in particular in Asia.

Media-Saturn increased revenue by 2 per cent – despite negative currency translation effects – in particular as a result of a weaker Russian rouble. Decisive here was the opening of new sites, primarily in eastern Europe, and significant organic revenue growth. In Germany and western Europe, Media-Saturn benefited from successful marketing efforts and was able to add market shares during the holiday shopping season in particular. The multi-channel offering was also further expanded. In addition to pure online sales, it also comprises pick-up in stores. This is gaining increasing acceptance by customers and has now established itself as an integral component of Media-Saturn’s business.

The Real sales line is now active solely in Germany following the sale of the eastern European business which was completed in the previous year. Real modernised additional locations in 2015 and intensified marketing efforts in order to improve the customer’s perception of Real and its competitiveness. Nevertheless, revenue fell by 5 per cent due to the loss of revenue contributions from sold eastern European business. In addition, growth declined in Germany due to location closures as well as a weak business in non-food items.

Operating profit after one-offs improved
The positive organic revenue development at METRO Cash & Carry and Media-Saturn led to an earnings contribution from the METRO GROUP that exceeded the prior-year contribution. However, negative currency translation effects caused the operating profit before one-offs to amount to EUR 1,448 million, below the previous year’s level of EUR 1,508 million.

Higher one-off expenses were incurred in 2015 as compared to the previous year due to the impairment loss on goodwill at Real Germany. These were offset by the net disposal gain from the sale of METRO Cash & Carry activities in Vietnam. On an aggregate level, one-offs came in significantly lower. After one-offs, the operating profit therefore improved from EUR 1,017 million to EUR 1,076 million.

Higher earnings contribution for Haniel
The higher operating profit had a proportionately positive impact on the investment result the Haniel Group derives from the METRO GROUP. The net disposal gain from the sale of Galeria Kaufhof also resulted in an increase in the result. By contrast, the May 2015 reduction of Haniel’s interest in METRO AG to 25.00 per cent reduced the investment result. Overall, the Haniel Group’s investment result from the METRO GROUP increased significantly from EUR 14 million in the previous year to EUR 57 million in 2015.