Metro International S.A. ("Metro"), the international newspaper group, announced that it has entered into a joint venture and franchise agreement in Guatemala with Grupo de Emisoras Unidas ("GEU"), one of the leading media groups in Guatemala. A new edition of Metro, under the brand name "Publinews" was launched yesterday in Ciudad de Guatemala, the capital city. Guatemala is the first step in Central America and will be used as a hub for future expansions in the region.
Metro will hold a 25 percent equity interest in the joint venture operation with an option to increase the shareholding in the future. Metro will account for its interest as equity participation and will receive franchise fees reflecting the value of the services provided. GEU will hold the remaining shares in the joint venture. Metro Guatemala will benefit from synergies with GEU and their expertise of the Guatemalan media market.
Ciudad de Guatemala is a city of approximately 3 million people. It is home to the Central American Headquarters of many media agencies and international clients. Ciudad de Guatemala has an interesting local advertising market of EUR 66 million, making it the largest market in the Central American region. The new edition will be the first free newspaper in Guatemala. It will have an initial distribution of 84,000 daily copies and will be hand delivered Monday to Friday by distributors at strategic locations to reach the target audience.
Per Mikael Jensen, President and CEO of Metro International, commented: "Metro Guatemala will be Metro's fifth country in Latin America in addition to Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Ecuador — consolidating our position as the largest newspaper in the fast growing Latin American region. Guatemala is one of the most attractive markets in Central America and can become a platform to develop future investments in Central America. Launching in new markets through franchise agreements with local partners has proven to be a very efficient way for Metro to penetrate new markets and to quickly establish a strong market position. We are very impressed by the expertise of GEU and look forward to a successful cooperation with them."
Rolando Archila, CEO of Grupo de Emisoras Unidas, commented: "Publinews is an important step in consolidating GEU's vision to form a strong media group with operation in radio, outdoor advertising, cable TV, interactive media and print. We are very pleased to have been chosen by Metro International as their partner to develop this project, which will be the first free newspaper in Central America."