Free Paper Publisher, Metro International, Reports $4.9 Million 1Q Loss

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By: E&P Staff

Free commuter newspaper publisher Metro International S.A. Tuesday reported a first-quarter pre-tax loss of $4.9 million on revenues of $93 million.

Luxembourg-based Metro said it set a record first-quarter operating profit for its subsidiary and associate newspaper operations of $1.4 million. Excluding its $15.9 million gain on the sale of a 49% stake in Metro Boston to The New York Times Co., Metro said it narrowed total operating losses year-to-year by 54% to $3.9 million.

“Metro has made an encouraging start to 2006 and we have begun to see the benefits of the measures taken during 2005 to further enhance our market positions around the world,” Metro President and CEO Pelle Tornberg said in a prepared statement. “The year-on-year sales growth rate accelerated from 13% in the fourth quarter of 2005 to 20% in the first quarter. The group’s newspaper operations have therefore been able to report a record combined first quarter operating profit, following a $5 million improvement in operating profitability.”

Metro publishes 64 editions in 91 cities in 19 nations.

The company said seven of its 16 fully consolidated country operations reported operating profits for the first quarter, compared to six out of 15 for the same period in 2005.

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