The rating agency Standard & Poor's has again published an update on METRO AG and lowered the outlook to negative due to the risks in METRO's Russian operations. Background is the assumption of high operational and financial challenges associated with the continuation of the business operations in Russia as well as doubts about the value creation potential of the Russian market for METRO. In addition, short-term charges in connection with the Group's recent decision to withdraw from the Belgian market have been taken into account.
At the same time, S&P sees only limited risks in the event of a hypothetical exit from the Russian market: “However, several factors currently limit risk, in our view. First, Metro's management has historically acted prudently, as demonstrated during the pandemic by scaling down capex and cutting dividends to ensure credit ratios' stability over time; second, we cannot rule out the possibility that if Metro were to exit Russia, there could be some form of financial compensation; and third, the group's operations in other countries are recording strong trading activity, which would help cushion the impact on credit metrics in the scenario of an exit from Russia.”
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