UPDATE 1-Sanoma reports smaller-than-expected first quarter loss

Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:00am EDT

* Q1 loss 4 mln euros vs 13 mln loss in poll

* Repeats 2014 outlook for falling sales and core EBIT margin

* Shares rise 8.7 pct (Adds share reaction, analyst comment)

HELSINKI, April 30 (Reuters) - Finnish media company Sanoma Oyj on Wednesday reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss as cost-cuts and a recovery in TV advertising in the Netherlands partly offset declines in print media sales.

Sanoma has been hit by Europe's economic slowdown and has lagged behind peers such as Norway's Schibsted in reacting to the consumer shift from print to digital media.

The company, which makes most of its profits later in the year due to the seasonality of its learning material sales, said its group core operating loss in the first quarter was 4 million euros ($5.5 million), roughly unchanged from 2.5 million euros a year ago but less than a Reuters poll consensus forecast for a 13 million euro loss.

Analysts said it was a positive sign that Sanoma's TV advertising sales turned slightly higher in the Netherlands.

"This is very important for the company as the media profit leverage is remarkable," Inderes equity research said in a note to investors.

Shares in the company rose 8.7 percent to 5.06 euros in early Helsinki trade.

Sanoma's total quarterly sales fell 7 percent from a year ago to 438 million euros as print advertising revenues in its key markets Finland and the Netherlands dropped 19 percent.

Sanoma has tried to restructure by selling non-core assets and slashing magazine titles, and it has stated it would return to organic growth with new digital offerings not until 2016. ($1 = 0.7237 euros) (Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Matt Driskill and Jane Merriman)

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