France sale boosts Metro earnings

The pending sale of its loss-making French division has boosted the profits at Metro International, the Swedish publisher of free newspapers, the firm reported on Monday.

France sale boosts Metro earnings

Metro confirmed that France’s TF1 network is the buyer of its French division.

“The due diligence is currently being carried out and subject to the outcome the deal is likely to be completed in the near future,” it said.

Excluding Metro France and Metro Hungary, which the Swedish company sold in June, Metro’s net profit in the second quarter was €2.83 million ($3.98 million), against a €477,000 for the April – June period a year earlier.

Including those discontinued units, the company suffered a net loss of €734,00 euros, against a profit of €477,000 last year.

Sales (excluding the discontinued units), were up 17 percent to €55 million.

Metro France dragged down the company’s numbers because of a €1.26 million operating loss attributable to a cost-cutting plan to fight competition from French dailies 20 Minutes and Direct Matin/Soir.

TF1, a private company and France’s largest broadcaster, has since 2003 held 34.3 percent of Metro France.

Metro said Latin America was a priority expansion market. It has six editions in the region.

Metro launched the world’s free daily in Sweden in 1995 and is now published in over 100 cities in 20 countries.

Its main markets are France (2.4 million readers), the Netherlands (1.71 million readers), Russia (1.57 million), Italy and Sweden.

Metro has some 17.13 million readers.

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Social Democrats call for Malmö underground system

Malmö’s Social Democrats have backed plans to build an underground railway in the city which could then be connected to Copenhagen through a tunnel under the Öresund straits.

Social Democrats call for Malmö underground system
The Copenhagen Metro in Örestad, near to the Öresund Straits. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT / Kod
Malmö mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh wants the city to begin drawing up plans for an underground railway with at least five stops: Malmö Central, Södervärn, Värnhem, Västra Hamnen and Nyhamnen. 
“We need to plan for a traffic system where we take into account being a city of half a million people,” she told the local Sydsvenskan newspaper. 
“And the traffic system needs to be able to handle more than just those who live in Malmö because we represent 50 percent of the growth in new jobs in Skåne and in addition are experiencing growing tourism.” 
Stjernfeldt Jammeh said that if her party manages to hold onto power after Sunday’s election, she aimed to push forward with the plans even before an investment decision over the Öresund Metro link. 
“There is a good reason in going underground, because we need to be economical with space on the surface,” she said. 
Sweden’s Liberal Party was the first to suggest building an underground in Malmö, with the Social Democrats instead pushing for a tram network until the plan was voted down by the centre-Right Alliance in Skåne’s regional government.