October 24, 2018 / 8:41 AM / a year ago

German wholesaler Metro starts search for partners in China business

FILE PHOTO: One of German retailer Metro AG's stores in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 02, 2018. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - German wholesaler Metro (B4B.DE) is talking to banks about finding a partner for its China business, a spokesman said on Wednesday, confirming a report by news agency Bloomberg.

Bloomberg had reported that Metro was working with banks Citi (C.N) and JP Morgan (JPM.N) on reviewing options for its China unit, including selling a minority stake or finding a strategic partner.

Metro runs 93 stores in China and reported like-for-like sales up 2.9 percent in Asia in the first nine months of its 2017/18 financial year.

Once a sprawling retail conglomerate, Metro has been restructuring in recent years to focus on its core cash-and-carry business, selling its Kaufhof department stores and then splitting from consumer electronics group Ceconomy (CECG.DE).

Analysts have speculated that the revamp could go further since Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky took a stake in the company, which last month announced plans to sell its struggling Real hypermarket chain.

Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by David Goodman

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