Metro cuts losses in first quarter

Metro International, publisher of free newspapers, said on Monday it had narrowed its first quarter net loss to €6.38 million ($10.1 million) from €10.75 million in the same period

last year.

Metro also reported a 6.0 percent decline in sales in the first quarter to €72.42 million from first quarter of 2007.

At the operating level, group loss shrank to €5.57 million from 8.79 million.

“Market difficulties, particularly in Spain, Denmark and the United States, put pressure on sales and advertising prices, but strong cost-cutting measures helped to reduce the impact of the economic slowdown in certain markets,” said group chief executive Per Mikael Jensen in a statement.

Metro papers are distributed in 21 countries in Europe, North and South America and Asia. The company says it has 20 million readers worldwide.

Metro International ended 2007 with a net loss of €19 million.

Metro shares were showing a loss of 1.0 percent at 48.5 kronor on a generally stronger Stockholm market.