The deal will help the Mukesh Ambani-backed company to strengthen its wholesale format and cement its position as the biggest player in India's burgeoning retail industry, with stores spanning electronics, groceries and fashion.

Ambani is also competing with fellow billionaire Gautam Adani in a race to buy India's debt-laden Future Retail Ltd.

Metro, which sold parts of its Belgian operations earlier this month, said it was expecting a gain of around 150 million euros ($159.15 million) from the sale of its India business.

Metro has been active in the Indian market since 2003 and reported sales of about 926 million euros for the financial year ended September 2022. It operates 31 stores in 21 cities and is mostly a supplier to restaurants and smaller businesses.

"Due to the market dynamics a sizeable investment would be required to further grow the business," Metro Chief Executive Officer Steffen Greubel said.

He added that the divestiture "will enable Metro to focus on accelerating growth in the remaining country portfolio."

The companies expect the deal to close by March 2023.

($1 = 0.9425 euros)

($1 = 82.8800 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Gokul Pisharody in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)