Edeka, Germany's largest food retailer, has admitted a "general interest" in the Extra stores owned by rival Metro.

However, the retailer has insisted its focus is on its new discount retail venture with local conglomerate Tengelmann, which the two companies unveiled on Friday.

Local media reports have linked Edeka to the Extra business, which Metro, the world's third-largest retailer, could sell.

Yesterday (18 November), Edeka chairman Alfons Frenk reportedly told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper that the company was interested in the Extra chain, although no offer had been made.

A spokesman for Edeka told just-food today that the company had a "general interest" in the Extra stores.

However he added: "There is always a general interest but the rest is just speculation. There is nothing concrete from our side. Our focus is on the co-operation with Tengelmann and the co-operation between the Netto and Plus stores."

On Friday, Edeka signed a deal to become the majority shareholder in a discount retail venture with Tengelmann.

German conglomerate Tengelmann, the owner of US retailer A&P, sold control of its Plus business in Germany, which will be placed into a venture with Edeka's Netto stores.

Edeka will take a 70% stake in the venture, which will run around 4,200 stores in total, generating annual sales of about EUR11bn (US$16.1bn).

For its part, Metro has insisted it is still weighing up its options on the future of its Extra stores.

Metro told just-food this afternoon (19 November) that no decision had been reached on the future of the business.

"We are actively considering several options for Extra and selling is one of the options but we have no other comment," a Metro spokesman told just-food.