Metro Group’s major shareholder, the Haniel family, plans to reduce its stake in the retailer by 4.24% over the next 18 months.

After the divestment, the family’s stake in Metro Group will fall to 30.01%, although it will remain the largest single shareholder.

The Haniels have already cashed in E7.9m (£6.4m) Celesio shares – taking their stake to 50.01% – in an effort to cut debt.