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Metro buys Singapore-based food service group for US$290m

[LONDON] German retailer Metro AG has bought Singapore-based restaurant supplier Classic Fine Foods Group from private equity group EQT for $290 million, it said on Thursday as it reported a slowdown in same-store sales due to a shift in Easter.

Earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) before special items fell 17 per cent to 209 million euros (S$315.6 million) on sales down 1.4 per cent to 14 billion euros, both roughly in line with average analyst consensus.

Europe's fourth-biggest retailer said like-for-like sales fell 0.4 per cent after a rise of 2.5 percent in the previous quarter, which it said was mainly due to Easter falling earlier this year.

Metro reiterated its forecast for the full 2014/15 financial year for a "slight rise" in sales "despite the persistently challenging economic environment" and for EBIT before special items slightly above last year's 1.531 billion euros.