Thursday, 24 November 2011

Regional papers squeeze Daily Mail profits as Northcliffe could be up for sale

Regional newspaper publishers continue to queue up to report falling profits and the latest is Daily Mail & General Trust.

The group revealed a 14 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £125m in the year to October 2, despite a 1pc rise in revenues to £1.99b.

The finger of blame was pointed at its regional arm Northcliffe media where revenues declined 10pc and operating profits fell 37 per cent to £17m, as it absorbed the cost of a “substantial change programme”.

The group has appointed Ernst & Young to value its Northcliffe Media regional newspapers division ahead of what could be a potential sale.

The group said its national newspaper revenues for the year to end-September had remained stable on an underlying basis,a better result than some had expected.

National advertising revenues in the first seven weeks of its new fiscal year were down 2 percent, in line with the fourth quarter to end-September, as retailers in particular cut ad spending.

DMGT said sales should rise in 2012 at its business-to-business divisions, which include events and financial information, with margins remaining stable.

But the performance of the UK newspaper business, where regional newspaper revenues fell 10 percent in the year to end-September, would depend on the advertising market and cost cuts.

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