Thursday, 4 March 2010

Trinity reports 'challenging' year for regionals

Trinity Mirror has reported  that revenues for its regional newspapers division  fell by 23.5% from £396 million to £302.9 million last year and operating profit falling by 47.4% from £68.2 million to £35.9 million.
The company says the regional newspaper division in 2009 faced "another challenging year" with the continued downturn in the economy hitting advertising and circulation.
The company says: "Regional businesses are hit particularly hard by the recession due, firstly, to the reliance on a higher proportion of advertising revenues than circulation revenues and, secondly, to the fact that the majority of its advertising is classified."
Trinity adds that it significantly cut its cost base last year. "In response to declining revenues and inflationary cost pressures, particularly steep newsprint price increases, we put in place a comprehensive package of self help measures with the objective of reducing our cost base.
"Initiatives included a reduction in headcount of some 1,700, around 20% of the total, a group-wide pay freeze, the closure of 15 offices and one print plant and tight management of all discretionary spend. These measures enabled the Group’s cost base to fall significantly during the year."
Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey said: “Whilst the severity of the economic downturn experienced during 2009 impacted Group revenues, the resilience of our brands and commitment of our staff ensured that we delivered profits ahead of expectations.
"We continued to reap the benefits of our investment in cutting edge IT systems which are driving new, more efficient ways of publishing across media platforms. Ongoing tight management of the cost base enabled costs to fall by £67.9 million and was crucial in supporting our profits. During 2010, we will maintain a focus on costs whilst reaping the benefits of an improvement in the rate of decline in advertising revenues. Whilst the Board remains cautious about the economic outlook, it anticipates a satisfactory performance for 2010.”
Whilst group revenues fell by £108.4 million to £763.3 million, operating profit only fell by £39.8 million to £105.4 million due to cost cutting.
  • MediaGuardian reports Bailey saying today: "We are not planning to close any further titles. The major activity [in terms of cost cutting] was at the begining of the year [2009 when the ad slump hit hardest] and while I won't say we won't close anything in the future ever, we have no plans. There is [also] no redundancy programme planned".

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