Tough US newspaper market makes for big losses at Metro

Metro International, publisher of free newspapers, announced on Monday a net loss of €1.95 million ($3.1 million) in the second quarter due to difficult market conditions, notably in the United States.

In the same period a year ago, Metro registered a net profit of €987,000 , but in the first quarter of this year it had already reported a loss of €6.38 million.

Operating profit in the period April-June was slashed six-fold to €633,000 from 3.58 million a year earlier, while sales dipped by 8.6 percent to €81.5 million.

The Metro share price plunged 10 percent on the news to 3.60 kronor ($0.60) on the Stockholm stock exchange, before regaining ground to 3.85 kronor in a market down by 1.30 percent.

Metro chief executive Per Mikael Jensen said the group had achieved “a commendable result in difficult market conditions.”

He said operations in the United States, Denmark, Spain and Portugal had dragged results down, noting that conditions for advertising in Europe and North America were “gloomy”.

Metro is distributed in more than 150 cities in 21 countries in Europe, North and South America and Asia, and claims to have more than 17.5 million daily readers.