Germany's Metro in advanced talks over sale of Indian division

DUESSELDORF/BENGALURU (Reuters) - Germany's Metro is exploring strategic options for its Indian unit and is in advanced discussions over a deal, a group spokesperson said, with analysts reckoning that the division could be valued at 500 million euros ($490 million) in a sale.

Indian retailer Reliance is well-positioned to buy the business, two people familiar with the matter said, adding a deal could happen before the end of the year but that no final decision has been made.

Metro has been active in the Indian market since 2003, employs around 3,350 staff there and makes around 765 million euros of sales, around 2.6% of its total. It operates 31 stores in 21 cities and mostly supplies restaurants and smaller businesses.

"As a policy, we do not comment on media speculation and rumours," a Reliance spokesperson said. "Our company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis."

($1 = 1.0215 euros)

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Praveen Paramasivam; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Miranda Murray)