(Adds Metro appoints board members for new unit)
DUESSELDORF, Germany, March 31 A German higher
regional court in Duesseldorf said on Friday it would decide
within three months whether or not to allow retailer Metro
to continue with a planned breakup while lawsuits by
shareholders against it are still pending.
Metro shareholders voted overwhelmingly last month to back a
plan to split off the group's wholesale and hypermarket food
business from Media-Saturn, Europe's biggest consumer
electronics group, this summer.
However, four lawsuits by shareholders have been brought
against it, among others from Erich Kellerhals, the founder of
Media-Saturn who still owns a stake of 22 percent in the
Metro, a sprawling conglomerate with 2,000 stores in 29
countries, has been restructuring in recent years to focus on
cash-and-carry and consumer electronics, selling its Kaufhof
department stores and Real supermarkets in eastern Europe.
It hopes the split will help the independent companies
pursue more acquisitions and trigger a revaluation of the stock
as Metro currently trades at a discount to pure wholesale
retailers such as Sysco and Britain's Booker.
Separately, Metro said that Chief Executive Olaf Koch has
been appointed to head the new food group until March 2022. The
other board members, including Chief Financial Officer Christian
Baier, have been mandated for a term ending Sept. 30, 2020.
(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Arno Schuetze;
Editing by Georgina Prodhan)