INM operating profit up 4%

Independent News & Media has reported a near 4% annualised increase in operating profit for the year to date, adding that it has seen “a noticeable improvement” in advertising revenue since June.

In a trading update, covering both the year to date and the three months since the beginning of July, INM yesterday delivered an upbeat message supported by recent improvements in the broader economy.

Between the start of July and the end of last week, the group said that advertising revenues fell by 8.1% year-on-year. This was a significant improvement on the 14.6% decline seen over the course of the first six months of the year.

The growth in online revenues continued to pick up momentum, with an 18.2% increase measured since the start of July (following an 8.2% rise in the first half), resulting in a year-to-date improvement of just under 12%.

Total group revenues declined 5.6% between July and October, bringing the year to date fall to 7.3%. Circulation revenues are down 4.7% year to date.

The improved performance continues a run of positive newsflow for INM, of late. Nearing the end stages of its multi-faceted financial restructuring programme, the group last month announced that the Pensions Board had formally approved its plans to slash its pension deficit by €110m.

In yesterday’s statement, INM said that it has reduced operating costs by over 8% so far this year, a move with reflects its “continued commitment to actively manage costs in all aspects of its business,” and this has helped drive a 3.8% increase in operating profits.

“Although the Irish economic outlook is not without challenges, the reduced rate of newspaper advertising revenue decline seen towards the end of the first half has generally continued into the second half; digital revenues continue to show positive momentum; and, circulation reductions largely continue at the levels seen in the first half,” management added.

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