Aftonbladet and SvD boost Schibsted

Norwegian media empire Schibsted saw its profits fall in the first quarter of 2006 but the result was nevertheless better than expected. The company's two Swedish newspapers, Aftonbladet and Svenska Dagbladet, both returned record profits.

Schibsted’s profit fell from 385 million kronor in the first three months of last year to 262 million kronor this time around.

Turnover climbed marginally to 2,557 million kronor.

Aftonbladet’s operating profit climbed by 12 million kronor to 73 million kronor. That is the best January-March result ever for the evening tabloid, despite being dragged down by 15 million kronor in development costs within and its investment in online TV.

The improvement was due primarily to increased advertising revenue, but the quarterly report revealed that other business areas had also surpassed analysts’ expectations.

Svenska Dagbladet, the morning paper, also returned its best first quarter result ever, thanks to increased advertising and sales.

The operating profit rose to 6 million kronor compared to 1 million in the same period last year.

Advertising revenue climbed 26% to 120 million kronor and circulation continued to rise.

Compared to March 2005, circulation has risen by 8,300 to 197,600.