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METRO

Profits return for free paper publisher Metro

Swedish publisher Metro International has returned to profitability, reporting a third quarter net profit of just over €1 million ($1.4 million) on Monday.

Profits return for free paper publisher Metro
Metro International CEO Per Mikael Jensen

The result marks a significant improvement from the third quarter last year, in which the company lost €8.6 million. In 2009, the company lost a total of €21.6 million.

Metro posted net sales of €45.9 million for the quarter, up about 8.0 percent up from a year earlier, with especially strong sales in Sweden.

Other areas of growth were Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Canada and Chile.

“We have seen a good performance in many of our operations on the back of growing advertising markets,” CEO Per Mikael Jensen said in a statement.

The company said the global advertising market, which suffered a severe downturn along with the worldwide economic crisis, had started gradually recovering at the end of 2009 and that the outlook for the ad market in 2010 was positive and Jensen remained bullish on the company’s prospects for 2010.

“It’s quite plausible that Metro will return a profit for 2010, both in Sweden and at the group level,” he told Sveriges Radio (SR).

Results for Metro’s Swedish editions, which saw year-on-year sales growth of 19 percent in the third quarter, were strengthened by a boost in advertising revenues related to the September 19th elections.

“We received extra advertising from the political parties in connection with the election,” he told SR.

After a turbulent 2009, in which the company sold of operations in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and the United States and relocated its headquarters from London to Stockholm, it appears as if Metro may turned a corner.

“I am excited to see markets returning to growth,” Jensen noted in a statement, adding that Metro was recently found to be the largest Pan-European media among young affluent metropolitans, according to the latest Synovate European Media.

Looking ahead, Metro plans to continue expansion efforts in Latin America, Russia, and Asia and to boost investments in online and other brand extensions.

The company also aims to achieve an earnings before interest and taxes margin of

15 percent by 2012.

Along with its quarterly results, Metro said Monday its Chilean subsidiary Publimetro has acquired the remaining 65 percent of SubTV, which broadcasts news and entertainment in the Santiago subway and train system.

The company is also planning to move its tax home from Luxemburg to Sweden. According to Jensen, the move will make it easier for investors to follow the company and that the impact on Metro’s tax bill would be minimal.

At midday Monday, Metro’s shares were up 5.0 percent to about 1.26 krona on a Stockholm Stock Exchange up 0.3 percent.

Founded in Sweden in 1995, Metro now publishes free newspapers in 120 cities in 19 countries with an estimated daily readership of 17 million people.

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TRAVEL

The Paris transport works that could disrupt your summer

Every year, major engineering works take place on the capital's public transport network in July and August, when Parisians flee the city for their summer holidays. Here’s the lines affected this year.

The Paris transport works that could disrupt your summer
Photo: Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

Metro

The most significant changes to Metro lines will take place on line 6. The line will be closed between Montparnasse-Bienvenüe and Trocadéro throughout July and August, and the Nationale station will remain closed until the end of August. Replacement bus services will be available but will add time to your journey.

The Mairie des Lilas stop will also be inaccessible from June 26th, so line 11 line will end at Porte des Lilas until August 29th.

There will also be disruption on line 14, with no trains running between Gare de Lyon and Olympiades from July 25th until August 22nd, as work takes place to extend the line to Paris Orly Airport.

RER

Services on the RER A line will be suspended between Auber and the Université, Cergy and Poissy stations from June 26th until August 29th, every day from 9pm and all day on weekends.

From August 9th to 13th, and August 16th to 20th,  services will be suspended all day between Auber and La Défense, and no trains will be running to or from Poissy.

Frequent work is planned on RER B, which will affect journeys between the city centre and Charles de Gaulle and orly airports. There will be no services between Aulnay-sous-Bois and Charles de Gaulle 2 Airport on the weekend of June 26th-27th, or any day after 11pm from July 1st until August 27th. There will however be a replacement bus.

Services between Charles de Gaulle terminals 1 and 2 will also be suspended on July 3rd and 4th. Likewise for journeys between Gare du Nord and Charles de Gaulle 2 on August 14th and 15th.

Improvements take place during the summer, when public transport is less crowded. Photo: Aurore MESENGE / AFP.

The Luxembourg stop meanwhile will be closed throughout the whole of July. As will the Fontaine-Michalon station to the south of Paris from June 28th to July 23rd, and Denfert-Rochereau every weekend from July 24th until August 22nd.

The RER C will also see its share of engineering works, with no trains running between Pontoise and Avenue Henri Martin on weekdays after 9:30pm, from July 1st until July 13th.

There is greater disruption to come on weekends from July 15th to August 21st. Services will be suspended between Musée d’Orsay and Pontoise, Saint-Quentin en Yvelines and Versailles Château Rive Gauche, and Massy – Palaiseau and Pont de Rungis Aéroport d’Orly.

Tram

Most tramlines will be unaffected by works, but there will still be interruptions in certain areas. Notably, the stretch of the T3b line from Porte de Vincennes to Delphine Seyrig will be blocked between July 3rd and 9th.

Full details of the disruption can be found on the RATP website.

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