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UPDATE 1-Metro confident split will go ahead on schedule
June 22, 2017 / 3:23 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Metro confident split will go ahead on schedule

* Judge says most challenges won’t prevent split

* Another judge must decide on remaining motions

* Metro says still sees split happening mid-year (Adds further details on judge’s assessment, lawyer comment)

DUESSELDORF, Germany, June 22 (Reuters) - German retailer Metro said its split into two companies would go ahead mid-year as planned, after a German court dismissed most shareholder challenges seeking to block the demerger.

Shareholders in Metro overwhelmingly voted in February to back the plan to split the group’s wholesale and hypermarket food business from Media-Saturn, Europe’s biggest consumer electronics group, by the middle of the year.

But Erich Kellerhals, the founder of Media-Saturn, as well as other shareholders, launched a legal challenge.

Their objections threatened to prevent Metro from entering its planned split into the commercial registry, a necessary step for the break-up to go ahead.

Gabriele Peters, presiding judge at the higher regional court in Duesseldorf, said on Thursday that most of the challenges should present no obstacle.

However, she left it up to another judge to decide whether some motions, which seek to declare the documents laying out the plan invalid, could prevent an entry into the registry.

It was unclear how long the decision would take, though Metro said the motions would not stop its demerger as they did not trigger a so-called commercial register blockage.

“Metro Group is confident that, on this basis, it will be able to implement the demerger into two strong, successful and strategically focused companies as planned,” Metro said, adding it still expected the split at mid-year and the stock-market listing of the new Metro group in mid-July. (Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Emma Thomasson and Elaine Hardcastle)

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