German retailer Metro investigated for insider trading

Supervisory board chairman and senior executive under investigation, company says

The investigation centres on the flow of information ahead of a Metro announcement in 2016 about plans to separate its wholesale and food business from its consumer electronics chain.

The investigation centres on the flow of information ahead of a Metro announcement in 2016 about plans to separate its wholesale and food business from its consumer electronics chain.

 

German prosecutors are investigating multiple officials at Metro for possible insider trading and market manipulation, they said on Monday.

The prosecutors did not specify names, but on Friday the retailer said German prosecutors were investigating the supervisory board chairman and a senior executive.

The investigation centres on the flow of information ahead of a Metro announcement on March 30th, 2016, about plans to separate its wholesale and food business from its consumer electronics chain to speed growth, sending its shares 12 per cent higher. The consumer electronics business is now listed on the stock exchange under the name Ceconomy.

“There are indications that three people from the company and one person outside the company were acquiring shares in Metro or forwarding insider information,” the Dusseldorf prosecutor, Ralf Moellmann, said in a statement.

A regulatory filing shows that supervisory board chairman Jürgen Steinemann bought 43,000 Metro shares on February 22nd, 2016, worth a little more than €1 million at the time. Chief operating officer Pieter Boone bought 2,175 shares on February 26th, 2016, a separate filing showed.

On Friday a Metro spokesman said: “At the time that Mr Steinemann and Mr Boone bought shares, no insider information was available.”

In its investigation into market manipulation, the prosecutor said the focus was on five individuals from the company. – Reuters