Johnston Press profits fall as revenue declines

Irish and British regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press Plc said profit for the 26 weeks ending June fell as revenue from print advertising continued to decline, with classified print advertising accounting for majority of the fall.

Johnston, which publishes the Limerick Leader, Kilkenny People, and Leinster Leader, as well as The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, said that it expected 2012 results to be in line with its current expectations if the UK economy did not deteriorate further.

The company said it had been hit by the adverse economy in both Ireland and Britain.

Chief executive Ashley Highfield said that the consumer confidence across the eurozone was dragging profits down.

“Consumer confidence remains low throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and concerns continue around the economic performance, the future of the eurozone and the level and timing of future GDP growth,” he said.

Johnston Press posted a 7% fall in its 2011 underlying profit as its advertising revenue fell 9%.

Newspaper publishers have been hit by lower spending on advertising, with British newspapers suffering because the UK the government has cut spending as part of an austerity drive aimed at keeping the national budget deficit in check.

Profit before tax, excluding items, fell to £13.6m (€17.24m) for the 26 weeks ending Jun 30 from £13.8m a year earlier.

Revenue was down 8.2% at £176.1m. Print advertising revenue fell about 13% to £97.4m.

Johnston Press said it cut costs by £12.8m for the 26 weeks ending Jun 2012.

It said that the vast majority of its planned cost saving initiatives for 2012 were under way and that the company was confident that it would achieve its cost savings target of £25m for the full year.

— Reuters


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