February 23, 2010 / 4:15 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Metro Inc says looks in vain for acquisitions

* Seeks M&A opportunities in food, drugs

* Sees 2010 capex at C$250 mln

* Expects to open 12 new stores in 2010 (Adds details and company comments)

TORONTO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Metro Inc MRUa.TO, Canada’s No. 3 grocery chain, said on Tuesday it wants to grow via acquisitions in its food and drug store divisions, but sees very few opportunities.

The Montreal-based chain, which has about 300 stores in Quebec and another 280 in Ontario, said it expects to open 12 new stores in 2010. It has set its 2010 capital spending budget at C$250 million ($238 million).

“We have a strong balance sheet and we have the experience. If and when something comes up, we will be looking at it and if it makes sense for long-term value creation we will jump on it,” Eric La Fleche, the company’s president, said at CIBC World Markets’ retail conference in Toronto. “But you need two to tango and there is no one on the dance floor.”

“We are in the food and pharma businesses and we would like to grow in those businesses. Not at any price, but if it makes sense, we will be there.” ($1=$1.05 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Peter Galloway)

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