Commuter-Paper Publisher Metro Intl. Swings To Profit in 2Q

By: E&P Staff

Metro International S.A., the global publisher of free commuter dailies, reported Tuesday a record quarterly profit for second-quarter 2006 of $6.5 million compared to a loss in last year’s period of $5.3 million.

Revenues also grew at a record for a quarter, gaining 12% year-over-year to $112.1 million. Calculated at constant exchange rates, Metro said, the growth was 16%.

Metro said its newspaper subsidiaries showed a profit of $11.3 million, up from $3.1 million a year ago.

“Our Q2 results show that the newspaper editions that have been operating for more than three years have, over the 12 month period ended 30 June, 2006, achieved an aggregate operating profit margin of 13% on revenues of $305 million,” Metro President and CEO Pelle Tornberg said in a statement.

Of Metro’s 18 subsidiary and associate country operations, 11 were profitable, Metro said, with Holland, Denmark and Sweden reporting profit margins of 20%.

During the quarter, Metro launched editions in Mexico and Croatia with local partners. “We will continue to make new investments, but in a balanced manner with a focus on profitability,” Tornberg said.

Metro said year-on-year sales figures were impacted negatively by the timing of Easter, plus the World Cup, which caused some advertisers to cut back on spending.

Separately, Metro said it would launch special summer editions in beach areas of France, Spain, Italy and Greece. In some cities, Metro stops publication for the summer.

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