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Metro's losses mount as potential bid fails to materialize

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14:13 CEST+02:00
Metro International, publisher of the free daily Metro newspaper, saw its shares on the Stockholm stock exchange plunge Monday morning following huge first quarter losses and news the company was abandoning talks with a potential bidder.

Metro lost €15.3 million ($19.8 million) in the first quarter of 2009, more than double the €6.4 million the company lost in the corresponding quarter last year.

Overall net revenues were down 24 percent to €55.6 million.

Shares in Metro plummeted nearly 40 percent in early morning trading on the Stockholm stock exchange. Shortly before 2pm, Metro's stock was trading at 0.97 kronor per share, down 36.6 percent for the day.

The Kinnevik investment firm, which owns nearly 40 percent of Metro International, also announced early Monday it was terminating discussions regarding a possible purchase of Metro International after learning that the bidder was unlikely to make an offer for Metro, considered the world's largest international newspaper.

Metro sees little hope of a short term recovery, expecting April advertising revenues to be down 15 to 20 percent compared to the previous year.

In an effort to stem the bleeding, the company has cut operating costs by 14 percent, although the full effects of the measures aren't expected to be seen until the second quarter.

Following abandoned talks with the potential buyer, Metro's board announced it planned to move ahead with a previously announced rights issue.

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