Sweden's Storytel tops core profit forecast, shares rise

Adds details on results, CEO comments, shares

STOCKHOLM, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Swedish audiobook streaming group Storytel STORYb.ST swung to a larger-than-expected core profit in the third quarter, helped by cost cuts and growth across its markets, sending its shares up 28% on Thursday.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reached 59.2 million Swedish crowns ($5.3 million), compared with a loss of 6 million crowns in the same period last year, and beating expectations of 35.5 million crowns.

The improvement was mainly driven by a shift to focus on profitable growth, the acquisition of Audiobooks.com, and a restructuring in the first half of the year, the company said.

"We have a subscriber base that is extremely loyal ... more than 50% of our subscribers have been with us for more than three years," Chief Executive Johannes Larcher said in an interview.

"We are focused on our core markets in the Nordics, the Netherlands, Poland, Bulgaria and the United States," he said.

Streaming revenue in the quarter rose 27% to 742 million crowns.

However, total third-quarter revenue came in below expectations as phasing out its Russian business and third-party distribution issues hit sales volume.

Quarterly net sales rose 18% to 806 million crowns from 681 million a year earlier. Analysts had expected 829 million crowns, according to data from Refinitiv.

($1 = 11.1237 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Niklas Pollard and Mark Potter)

((supantha.mukherjee@thomsonreuters.com; +46 70 721 1004; Reuters Messaging: supantha.mukherjee.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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