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Metro finishes 2009 with a flourish

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12:09 CET+01:00
Metro International, the Swedish publisher of free newspapers, reported a strong last quarter in 2009 but recorded a loss for the full year.

Fourth quarter net earnings came to €5.9 million euros ($8.1 million) after a loss of 9.8 million euros a year earlier.

But for the 2009 full year, Metro suffered a loss of €21.7 million after turning a profit of €4.1 million in 2008.

Metro shares jumped 23.1 percent in early trading on the Stockholm exchange, which was down 0.7 percent.

"The last quarter of 2009 was a success for Metro papers all over the world," Metro chief executive Per Mikael Jensen said in a statement.

"We recorded our highest ever quarterly profit despite the fact that the world economy was recovering from the (financial) crisis.

"The group is well placed to take advantage of the recovery in the global advertising market, even if prospects remain uncertain," Jensen said.

By the end of last year, Metro newspapers were being distributed in more than 100 cities in 19 countries in Europe, Asia and North and South America, reaching about 17 million readers, up 4.0 percent from 2008.

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