Metro profitable in 2008 despite recent losses

Sweden’s Metro International, which publishes free newspapers around the globe, on Thursday reported net profits of $4.06 million in 2008 despite fourth quarter losses.

The group had recorded a $20.15 million loss in 2007.

Metro’s sales were down 10.7 percent year-on-year in 2008 at $29.47 million.

Net losses in the last quarter of 2008 came to $9.7 million, after a gain of 3.9 million in fourth quarter 2007, amid a plunge in advertising revenue for global media.

Metro shares fell 10.53 percent on the Stockholm exchange after the report.

Last month, Metro International was forced to shut down the Spanish edition of the newspaper because of a sharp economic slowdown in Spain.

“Metro has not been immune” to the global economic crisis, the group’s chief executive Mikael Jensen said in a statement.

“The slowdown of the global economy has continued to have a negative effect on advertising in the course of the year which has put strong pressure on the media industry,” Jensen said.