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Metro Says Full-Year Profit Almost Doubled

Metro, Germany's biggest retailer, said Wednesday that full-year net income almost doubled as recently acquired businesses contributed to earnings for the first time and the company sold its remaining stake in the Praktiker home improvement chain.

Net income surged to 1.06 billion euros ($1.41 billion) in the 12 months through Dec. 31, from 531 million euros in the previous year, the company said in a statement. Sales climbed 7.4% to 59.88 billion euros ($79.7 billion).

Metro spent 987 million euros ($1.31 billion) on acquisitions in 2006, while earning 484 million euros ($643.6 million) from the sale of Romania-based Praktiker.

The company expects to increase sales by 8% to 9% in the current year. Metro also aims to increase earnings before interest and taxes in the same period by 8% to 9% from the 1.91 billion euros posted in 2006.

"We have set ambitious goals for ourselves in 2007," said Chief Executive Hans-Joachim Koerber, "and are determined to achieve them."

Shares of Metro fell 1.1% to 55.50 euros ($73.81) in Frankfurt.

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