Metro has announced that it has sold its Belgian branch – consisting of eleven wholesale stores of the same name and six stores of cash & carry chain Makro – will be sold to two investors. The consequences for employees are unclear.
After earlier denial
In January, rumours surfaced that German food group Metro wanted to get rid of its loss-making Belgian branch. The company had reportedly asked merchant bank Rothschild to look into the options. One week later, however, CEO Steffen Greubel denied that any decision had been made regarding the Belgian operations.
Five months later, two buyers have been found: the Luxembourg real estate company Bronze Properties and a specialist in restructuring, GA Europe. It is still unclear what the buyers intend to do with the six Makro outlets and the eleven Metro-wholesale stores. For the time being the activities would be continued. However, according to the trade unions the uncertainty for the almost 2,000 employees remains high.
One of the buyers, GA Europe, is known for taking over loss-making companies in order to restructure them and sell them on. The company was involved in the sale of the Belgian Blokker stores, a story that did not have a happy ending.