3.2 Asset, financial and earnings position
Overall statement by the Management Board of METRO AG on the business development and situation of METRO
At the beginning of financial year 2019/20, the positive economic development of the previous year continued. Until the end of February 2020, the operational business developed clearly positively and seemed largely unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Then the rapid spread of Covid-19 led to comprehensive government measures and restrictions in all countries where METRO operates in an effort to contain the virus. These measures varied from country to country, but all of them had in common that they restricted social life and the economy to a sometimes considerable extent. Therefore, just like the hospitality industry and hotel sector, METRO’s business development was strongly impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in Q3 2019/20. In Q4 2019/20, the operational business has already almost reached the level of the previous year, in part supported by significant market share gains in the core business and a clearly positive development in Russia and Eastern Europe (excluding Russia).
With the exception of Q3 2019/20, which was impacted by Covid-19, the Management Board looks back on an overall stable and robust financial year, in which the transformation to a pure wholesaler was completed. In a challenging financial year, the holistic wholesale approach, the flexible channel programme with delivery and store-based business and the close cooperation with customers proved to be very crisis-resistant. METRO has emerged very satisfactorily from the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic compared to the competition and managed to gain market share.
Sales and EBITDA developed in line with expectations at the upper end of the adjusted outlook. Accordingly, the Management Board is overall satisfied with the development of the business considering the current circumstances. The reported Earnings per Share (EPS) from continuing and discontinued operations amounts to €1.27 (2018/19: €0.89) and provides the basis for the dividend proposal. Accordingly, an attractive dividend will also be proposed to shareholders for financial year 2019/20.