Metro Group celebrates growth
Düsseldorf, GERMANY: Retailer Metro Group, which owns wholesaler Makro in the UK, increased its pre-tax profit by 14.1% in 2006 to €1.9bn (£1.3bn). Group sales for the year rose 7.5% to €59.9bn (£40.6bn). The results were boosted by Metro's acquisition of Wal-Mart's German business and Geant hypermarkets in Poland, the company said. "2006 was our strongest growth year since 1998," said chief executive Hans-Joachim Koerber. "In 2006, more than 50% of our sales and about two-thirds of our earnings were generated abroad." Profits in its cash & carry division rose 9.7% to €1.1bn (£0.75bn) on sales up 6.5% to €29.9bn (£20.3bn).

Investors' bid to join Carrefour board
Paris, FRANCE: Billionaire Bernard Arnault and private equity firm Colony Capital, which bought a 9.1% stake in Carrefour last month, have asked the French retailer for two seats on its board. "A resolution on the nomination of two representatives at the supervisory board has been asked to be included in the agenda of Carrefour's general assembly of shareholders," Carrefour said in a statement. "We take note of this demand and plan on meeting the representatives so that they make their intentions clear."

Coles denies misleading the market
Tooronga, AUSTRALIA: Supermarket chain Coles Group could face an investigation amid allegations that it misled the stock market. Internal emails leaked to an Australian broadcaster suggest the chain inflated sales figures for Bi-Lo stores that had been re-branded as Coles supermarkets. Coles Group had said rebranded Bi-Lo stores had increased sales by an average of 7% to 8%, but the leaked email mentioned a figure of 3.9%. "Any suggestion we misled the market, particularly the outrageous assertion made by some that we deliberately misled the market, is categorically wrong," a Coles Group spokesman said.

Delhaize strategy bears fruit
Brussels, belgium: Delhaize Group has reported a 5.2% increase in full-year operating profit to €946.3m (£642.5m) on sales up 4.8% to €19.2bn (£13bn). Like-for-like sales grew 2.8% in Belgium, with sales in its US stores up 2.7% during the year. "Delhaize Group had an excellent year in 2006," said Pierre-Olivier Beckers, president and chief executive officer. "Our 2006 sales and profits are at the top of our expectations."

Nestlé opens largest milk factory
Kabirwala, PAKISTAN: Nestlé has opened its largest milk processing plant, in Kabirwala. The plant has a processing capacity of two million litres of milk a day, which is set to rise to three million in the future. Nestlé collects milk from 140,000 farmers in Punjab, who receive more than CHF120m (£50.9m) a year from the group. "Pakistan is a great country, and the fourth largest milk producer in the world," said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and chief executive officer of Nestlé. "We very much hope to continue having the privilege of being part of Pakistan's economic growth for many years to come."