William Malcolm

EPGC Ups Stake In Metro AG To Over 40%

Billionaires Daniel Křetínský and Patrik Tkáč have increased their ownership stake in the German company Metro AG to over forty percent. Fulfilling the plan they laid out in September to take over the company through their EP Global Commerce (EPGC). “The aim is to increase EPGC’s share in Metro AG above the 30% threshold, thus gaining more flexibility in how to proceed,” EPGC said at the time.

At the beginning of January, the German chain informed shareholdings that EP Global Commerce owns 40.6 percent of the shares. According to the German company’s annual report for the past year, the offer of EP Global Commerce was accepted by shareholders owning 10.6 percent of ordinary shares. In addition to ordinary shares, more than one percent of preference shares were purchased.

EPGC offered almost 8.5 euros per offer per ordinary share and less than nine euros per preferred share. The value of the purchased shares is therefore based on approximately CZK 8.5 billion.

“They want to open the door to gain a majority. It is a preparation for them to be able to develop Metro outside Germany, “comments Radim Pařík, a former top manager of the retail colossus Schwarz Gruppe, which owns the Kaufland and Lidl chains, on the increase in the stake in Metro. According to him, the German market does not offer many expansion opportunities.

The transaction has already obtained the necessary permits from the authorities. “This was approved by the European Union and the relevant authorities in the individual countries where Metro operates and where it was needed according to regulatory standards,” adds Křetínský spokesman Daniel Častvaj.

The billionaires joined the German wholesale chain, owned by Makro wholesalers on the domestic market, in 2018. The investment is held through the German company EP Global Commerce. Křetínský and Tkáč are also co-owners of the Czech News Center publishing house.

The billionaire duo began investing in the German company by buying 7.3 percent of Metro’s ordinary shares from Haniel in the summer of 2018. “We appreciate the fact that we were able to become a major shareholder in Metro AG,” commented Daniel Křetínský.

In addition to the shares, EPGC also acquired a pre-emptive right to an additional 15.2 percent of Metro’s shares held by Haniel. At that time, the price of one Metro share was around twelve euros. Gradually, Křetínský and Tkáč increased their stake when they owned 29.99 percent of the company’s ordinary shares before submitting a voluntary share repurchase offer.