Profits down at Trinity despite £20m savings

Trinity Mirror has announced it made cost savings of £20 million last year and has earmarked a further £20 million that it hopes to save by the end of this year.

The group's 2006 results, published this morning, show revenue at the publishing group has fallen by 4.8 per cent year on year to £1.032bn — a drop blamed on difficult advertising conditions. Profits in 2006 fell by 13.8 per cent to £185.4 million.

Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey said: "We have reduced costs significantly in response to the industry-wide decline in advertising."

But the board said it was confident that conditions would improve in 2007. The group last year had set a target of £15 million in cost savings, and managed to exceed the target and save £20 million. In today's update to the City, Trinity said it believed it could save an extra £20 million by next year.

Bailey added: "We witnessed an encouraging finish to 2006. Although the current environment remains challenging and volatile we continue to expect conditions to stabilise during the year with the rate of decline slowing."

The disposal of Trinity's magazines and exhibitions division and its recruitment consultancy business raised £42.6 million.

Next on the group's list of disposals will be its Midlands, southern and racing titles, which were put up for sale in December. Trinity said it hoped to have disposed of these titles by the end of the third quarter.

It said: "We undertook a thorough review of our businesses and concluded that to take the group forward we should rationalise our portfolio and concentrate on those assets in Wales, the North East, the North West, Scotland and our national newspaper titles."

The publishing group identified Scotland as a difficult marketplace, after a heavy price war between the Daily Record and News International's Scottish Sun, which cut its price to 10p.

The launch in August of Record PM, an evening edition of the Daily Rcord in Glasgow and Edinburgh which has since spread to Aberdeen and Dundee, had helped Trinity hold on to its Scottish readership, Trinity said.

Full coverage of the regional ABC results for the second half of 2006 will be on from midday today.

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