ET Bureau, Dec 23, 2022
Reliance Retail Ventures, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries and the holding company of the group’s retail businesses, signed definitive agreements to acquire German wholesaler Metro AG’s India business – Metro Cash & Carry India-for a total cash consideration of ₹2,850 crore.
As part of the deal, Reliance will get 31 large format stores in 21 cities as well as the realty portfolio that includes six store-occupied properties, 3,500 staff and Metro’s 3 million B2B customers, of which 1 million are frequent buyers. The deal is subject to regulatory and other conditions and is expected to be completed by March 2023, the companies said on Thursday. ET had first reported in its edition dated Oct 15 that Reliance is the frontrunner to acquire Metro’s India business.
Metro AG said in a release that the India business valuation implies a sales multiple of 0.6x based on sales in the year ended September and takes into account lease rental and other related liabilities of e150 million (₹1,320 crore). Metro India generated sales of ₹7,700 crore (926 million euros), its best ever, in the year ended September.
Metro expects a transaction gain of about 150 million euros and an earnings per share (EPS) gain, once the deal closes.
The move will help Reliance consolidate its presence in the B2B trade segment, which it calls new commerce and is among its next big growth drivers, intensifying competition with Udaan, Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart. Reliance owns and runs the country’s largest retail business. All Metro India stores will continue to operate under the Metro brand during an agreed transition period.
Reliance Retail Ventures director Isha Ambani said the acquisition of Metro India aligns with its new commerce strategy of building a unique model of shared prosperity through active collaboration with small merchants and enterprises.
“We believe that Metro India’s healthy assets combined with our deep understanding of the Indian merchant and kirana ecosystem will help offer a differentiated value proposition to small businesses in India,” she said.
Metro AG chief executive officer Steffen Greubel said it is selling a growing and profitable wholesale business at the right time. “Indian trade industry is currently experiencing strong consolidation and disproportionate growth in ecommerce, including the B2B segment,” he said. “Due to the market dynamics, a sizable investment would be required to further grow the business. Therefore, now is the right time to use the momentum and open a new chapter for Metro India.”
Metro said it aims for a leading market position in wholesale. Due to increasing market consolidation, accelerated digitalisation and intense competition, Metro India’s operations don’t fit Metro’s core growth strategy, it said. Abneesh Roy, executive director, institutional equities at Nuvama, said the price to sales ratio is 0.37, which seems fair, given the B2B segment is a low-margin business.
Reliance will gain a significant jump in revenue and established locations that it can expand or optimise under its own branding and formats, said Devangshu Dutta, founder of retail consulting firm Third Eyesight. “The additional shelf space will also be very welcome for its own FMCG brands,” he said.
(Published in The Economic Times)