The Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky has increased his stake in the wholesaler Metro and now holds almost 50 percent of the shares.

Kretinsky holds 49.99 percent of Metro shares via his investment company EP Global Commerce, Metro announced on its website. Just under six months ago it was still around 46 percent. The "LebensmittelZeitung" also reported on the increase. Metro CEO Steffen Greubel had described Kretinsky as a committed and long-term oriented investor who does not focus on the share price in the short term.

Metro's second-largest shareholder are the existing shareholders Beisheim and Meridian, who act jointly and now control 24.99 percent of the shares. Kretinsky had submitted a voluntary takeover bid for Metro in 2020 in order to increase his stake and pass the 30 percent threshold. The Czech billionaire has stakes in numerous companies in Europe - from the energy sector to media groups and retail - and has been negotiating a stake in Thyssenkrupp's steel division for months. In France, Kretinsky has a stake in the retailer Casino.

(Report by Matthias Inverardi, edited by Kerstin Dörr. If you have any queries, please contact our editorial team at berlin.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com (for politics and the economy) or frankfurt.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com (for companies and markets).)