Bligh me, Metro International has just announced that it's closing down its Spanish operation with immediate effect!
Actually, to be precise, the announcement ticked into my mail account three hours ago, but I only happended to check it now. Is there something I have missed? I must admit that I've been spending this month writing by the seaside and haven't followed the news as closely as I use to, but I didn't see that one coming.
Only, oh... I forget, probably when Metro presented their last quarterly results, Per Mikael Jensen, the company's CEO hinted strongly that a merger was on its way in Spain when I interviewed him, certainly they've been successful creating such partnerships in several of the other markets they operate in, but seems they've been unable to negotiate one in Spain. Next week's results should be interesting.
According to the press release:
Metro International S.A. ("Metro International"), the world's largest international newspaper, announces that it is discontinuing the activities of its fully owned operation in Spain, Metro News S.L. ("Metro Spain"), which publishes the free daily newspaper Metro in seven Spanish cities. Thursday 29th January 2008 was the last day of publication for Metro. Prior to the closure of our Spanish operations, Metro was the fifth most read daily newspaper in Spain with more than 1.8 million daily readers
Per Mikael Jensen, CEO and President of Metro
International said: "Despite dedicated efforts from our Spanish
management team and staff, it is with deep regret that we have taken
the difficult decision to close down our operations in Spain. Even
though Metro in Spain has been losing less money than its Spanish free
competitors, the worsening Spanish economic down turn, which during the
beginning of 2009 has resulted in a collapsing advertising market, has
now resulted in unsustainable losses.
"The stiff competition coupled with a forecasted continued weakening advertising market for Spain, makes the closure of our operations the only rational decision at this time. A continued investment in Spain cannot be justified at this point and we are therefore focusing our resources on growth areas where we can create long term shareholder value."