Free newspaper publisher Metro returns to profit

Free newspaper publisher Metro International returned to net profit in the three months to December,

Metro's net profit recovered to reach €5.9mn, compared to a loss of €9.8m loss a year ago. The company slashed its operating costs by 13 percent, sold off its US, Portugal and Italian titles, closed down its Spain operations, and moved its headquarters from London to Stockholm.

Though online income showed a healthy increase of 78 percent, the amount remained relatively insignificant at just €500,000. Online expenses still outstripped sales, recording a €357,000 loss on website costs and €444,000 loss on team costs.

Metro managed to shave off its 2009 online losses by 14 percent, but it still lost €4.67 million online through the year. Metro's mainstay print publication has a 17-mn daily global readership and has seen big gains in Brazil and Russia.