Wednesday 21 March 2018

Ex-employer standing by new Aryzta board member in shares probe

Aryzta declined to comment last night
Aryzta declined to comment last night
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

German retail giant Metro has said that Juergen Steinemann - one of its key directors who is also set to join the board of troubled Swiss-Irish baked goods firm Aryzta next month - had no inside information when he bought shares in Metro last year in advance of a significant strategic announcement.

German prosecutors have confirmed that they're investigating a number of executives at Metro for possible insider trading ahead of the announcement made in March last year that Metro was planning to separate its retail and wholesale business from its consumer electronics arm.

The prosecutors did not name the individuals being investigated, but confirmed that the chairman of Metro's supervisory board and a senior executive were the subjects of the probe. Mr Steinemann is the chairman of the supervisory board.

The prosecutors have claimed there are indications that three people from Metro, and one from outside the group, "were acquiring shares in Metro or forwarding insider information".

Earlier this week, a spokesman for Metro and Mr Steinemann said the group was working with prosecutors. A Metro spokesman said last Friday that at the time Mr Steinemann and another executive bought shares weeks in advance of plans for the company split being made public, "no insider information was available".

Aryzta, whose newly-appointed chief executive is former DAA boss Kevin Toland, declined to comment last night. Mr Steinemann's appointment to the board as an independent, non-executive director was announced at the end of August. It's due to be voted on at the company's annual general meeting next month.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business