Wednesday 25 August 2010

Johnston Press reports operating profit increase

Johnston Press today reported its first operating profit increase since 2006. In the first half, for the 26 weeks to 3 July, the group achieved an operating profit before non-recurring items of £40.5m - up from £38.2m in the prior year.
John Fry, chief executive officer of Johnston Press, said: "As we move into the second half of the year, we have seen the improving trend in advertising revenues continue with total advertising in the first six weeks on a like-for-like basis only down 3.7%.
"Within this performance digital revenues grew by 9.7%. Circulation revenues in July have also performed well and are down only 1.6%. These industry leading trends which demonstrate the strength of our publishing portfolio along with our continued focus on costs, efficiencies and debt reduction, give the Board confidence, in the absence of a further deterioration in the UK economy, that the outcome for the Group in 2010 will be in line with current market expectations.”
The company statement says: "While total revenues have continued to fall, the rate of decline has reduced considerably from 25.4% a year ago to 5.2% in the first half of this year. This, when combined with a cost base that continues to reduce, has enabled the Group to return to operating profit growth."
It adds: "Cost reductions have continued with full time equivalent headcount down from 5,640 at the start of the period to 5,417 at 3 July 2010, primarily through improving processes and investing in industry leading systems. These processes and systems have enabled an improvement in service for our customers as well as a reduction in costs.
"Most notable in the first half is the continued roll-out of our editorial system from one that was print based with digital elements developed in-house to a purchased editorial/content management system.
"This creates a single view of our editorial content and positions the Group to deliver this content via print, internet and mobile channels without the high level of rework the previous systems required. Around 80% of our editorial staff now use the improved system which will be rolled out to the rest of the Group during the second half of this year."
  • HoldtheFrontPage reports today that Chris Green, Johnston's divisional managing director for the North, has decided to stand down.

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