Torstar Corp posts surprise loss as print business drags

(Reuters) - Toronto Star newspaper publisher Torstar Corp posted a surprise loss in the second quarter as demand for its print business continued to dwindle.

Torstar, like many other publishers, has struggled to offset the steady defection of advertisers from newspapers to social media and search websites such as Google.

Print advertising revenue fell 15 percent in the three months ended June 30 and the company said it expects subscriber revenue from the print business to continue to decline for the remainder of the year.

Overall revenue fell 9 percent to C$161.8 million ($128.99 million) from C$177.91 million.

Net loss attributable to the company narrowed to nearly C$7 million, or 9 Canadian cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from C$23.9 million, or 30 Canadian cents per share a year earlier.

The year-ago quarter included a one-time loss of C$15.9 million from associated businesses.

Excluding items, the company posted a loss of 3 Canadian cents per share. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 3 Canadian cents.

($1 = 1.2544 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Supriya Kurane