LOSSES at the Sunday Tribune increased last year when the paper lost just over €158,000 a week.
The newspaper, which recently launched a revamped product, saw its pre-tax losses soar from €5 million in 2008 to €8.2m last year.
According to accounts just filed for Tribune Newspapers Plc, advertising revenue fell by 54% on the previous year to €2.1m.
The company said trading conditions for 2009 continued the declining trend that commenced in 2008.
“Advertising and circulation revenues fell significantly requiring continued focus on restructuring the cost base to minimise the losses.”
The operating loss for 2009 was €3.04m before exceptional charges of €2.9m. This represents an increase of €260,000 or 9% on the previous year.
Circulation revenue declined 12% last year with the accounts saying this rate of decline exceeded the market average due to “increased competitor investment in their products despite the recession and unfortunately the Tribune did not have the resources to compete”.
Chairman Gordon Colleary said cost cutting which has become the norm rather than the exception in the Tribune over the last few years was critical to assist in countering the effect of revenue falls on the performance of the company.
Management achieved cost reductions during the year of €2.9m, a 23% saving on total cost over 2008. The company’s annualised cost base is now estimated at €9.5m representing a reduction of €7m since 2004.
The accounts include an exceptional property charge of €2.9m, which arose from a change in its historical property arrangement.
Losses in excess of €1m are forecast for this year.
The board of directors said they are satisfied that sufficient financial resources will be available to the company to continue as a going concern for the period of 12 months to August 2011.
Independent News and Media owns 29.9% of the paper, making it the second-largest shareholder behind Mr Colleary. A significant stake is also held by Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton and Mondello Park owner Martin Birrane.
INM advanced loans of €2.5m to the company last year bringing the total amount outstanding to €17.7m. The interest rate on these loans is 8% a year and the interest accrued as at December 31, 2008, amounted to €5.2m.
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