Metro could spend up to EUR200m (US$288m) fulfilling its expansion plans in Pakistan, the German retail giant has told just-food.

Metro is to open its first wholesale centre in Pakistan tomorrow (30 October) with a site in the city of Lahore.

The company is aiming to have ten Metro Cash & Carry wholesale outlets in Pakistan. Each outlet would see Metro spend around EUR20m, a spokesman said.

"Pakistan is a very interesting market for us, it has a developing economy and we have experience in similar markets, like India and Vietnam," the spokesman said.

The Pakistan food industry is growing at around 10% a year and the country has a long established food manufacturing industry and strong commodity production.

However, ongoing political instability makes Pakistan a challenging market for Western retailers and manufacturers. Nevertheless, Metro remains calm about any potential problems. "We are not politicians, we are a business company offering products to hotels and restaurants and we already have a wide range of customers."

The move into Pakistan means Metro is now present in 31 countries. Its Metro Cash & Carry operations do business in some 29 countries. A second site in Pakistan will open in Islamabad in December.