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Metro eyes eastern European hypermarkets

German retailer Metro's hypermarket unit Real is seeking acquisitions in eastern Europe, unit head Joel Saveuse told the Financial Times Deutschland paper in an interview.

“There are currently many interesting opportunities there,” he said.

Saveuse did not say which companies Metro was reviewing. The paper said a possible candidate could be Russian hypermarket chain Mosmart, which Saveuse said was a “very good chain.”

Real has 342 stores in Germany and 90 in eastern Europe. Separately, Metro Chief Executive Eckhard Cordes told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Real posted a pretax profit in all regions in 2008.

Cordes also said he would be prepared to hold talks over department store chain Kaufhof with Arcandor if the rival's new chief executive, Kark-Gerhard Eick, asked him to.

“If Eick asks for talks, it is of course only polite to comply with the request,” Cordes said.

Metro has said that Kaufhof is no longer a part of its core business, and there has been speculation that Arcandor could buy the chain. But Cordes said Metro would not sell Kaufhof below its value to achieve a quick sale. (Reuters)