German retail giant Metro has reported an increase in net profit and sales for 2003 and said it reached its earnings growth target.

The company posted 2003 net profit of €571m (US$696.8m), a rise of 13.8% compared to the previous year. Earnings per share rose 12.0% to €1.52. Group sales rose 4.0% to €53.6bn.

"We have fully reached our objective of raising the earnings per share by 6-10% in fiscal 2003", said CEO Dr. Hans-Joachim Körber. "This was achieved in spite of extraordinary expenses for the divestment of Divaco and therefore additionally documents the high operating performance of the Metro Group."

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 8.2% to €2.61bn. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) climbed 13.1% to €1.32bn.

"Despite the difficult overall situation 2003 was a good year for the Metro Group. We have managed to overcome the negative trend of our industry in many areas, including Germany," said Körber.