Operating profits up at Archant despite revenue dip

Archant reported today that operating profits almost tripled last year across the regional media group.

In a preliminary statement to shareholders, chairman Richard Jewson reported that group operating profit was £8.2m in 2010 – up 157 per cent on the £3.2m it made in 2009.

Despite this increase, revenue at Archant was down 1.9 per cent year on year from the £142m it made in 2009 to £139.3m last year.

Archant, which is a privately owned company and therefore does not publish full financial statements to the City, said it continued to look for “efficiencies” during last year. However, it did not go into detail of the extent of its cost cutting.

Newspaper like-for-like revenues for the year fell 5.9 per cent to £92.6m, the company said, in part due to a significant reduction in public sector advertising.

Despite this Archant said two of its daily newspaper titles and half the paid for weekly titles outside London achieved year on year circulation growth in the second half of 2010.

The publisher’s magazine division recorded a three per cent increase in revenue to £44.9m, assisted by progress in subscription copy sales, up 9.9 per cent in the year and representing more than 50 per cent of paid-for circulation.

Jewson said: ‘The impact of digital media on our traditional business has grown rapidly since broadband became mainstream and the economic downturn, which started in 2008, has served to accelerate that pace of change.

‘Archant has faced the challenges presented by diversifying and repositioning its portfolio of media assets, by pursuing efficiencies, and by accelerating its business development activities to take advantage of the opportunities created.

‘Digital revenue has grown throughout this difficult period, and we fully expect this to continue, as new initiatives are introduced and bear fruit.”

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