December 14, 2016 / 7:01 AM / 9 months ago

Metro forecasts slight rise in sales and profit

* Q4 EBIT 568 mln vs analyst consensus for 471 mln

* 2016/17 guidance for slight rise in sales, EBIT

* Outlook to be adjusted if demerger approved

BERLIN, Dec 14 (Reuters) - German retailer Metro forecast a slight rise in operating profit and sales for the 2016/17 fiscal year after it reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter operating profit for the food and wholesale business it hopes to spin off next year.

Metro, which had reported fourth-quarter sales in October, said on Wednesday earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) before special items rose 31 percent to 568 million euros ($605 million), beating average analyst forecasts for 471 million.

Fourth-quarter EBIT at its cash and carry business rose 14 percent to 306 million, beating analyst consensus for 256 million. Metro plans to spin off the unit, along with its Real hypermarkets, assuming it gets shareholder approval on Feb. 6.

For the 2016/17 fiscal year that started in October, it expects a slight rise in overall sales and a slight improvement in EBIT before special items above the 1.56 billion achieved in 2015/16 despite slightly lower income from real estate sales. ($1 = 0.9395 euros) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Victoria Bryan)

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