Metro has called on the German government to reject a request by its rival Arcandor for state support as it seeks to acquire the latter’s department store chain, Karstadt.

Metro chief executive Eckhard Cordes wrote to the government outlining a “commercial solution” that would not need state intervention. Cordes has denied he wants to merge Karstadt with Metro’s Kaufhof department store chain.

Arcandor has asked for a combination of government credit guarantees and loans in a bid to refinance up to €700m (£617.1m) of debt by the middle of next month. German mail-order company Otto is also interested in buying parts of Arcandor, including its Primondo home shopping division.