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November 22, 2012

Northcliffe profits surge 54 per cent ahead of sell-off to Local World consortium

By Andrew Pugh

  • Headcount slashed by 13 per cent
  • Like-for-like revenue down 6 per cent to £213m
  • Ad revenue falls 8 per cent

Figures released by Daily Mail & General Trust this morning reveal that operating profit at its regional newspaper arm Northcliffe Media was up 54 per cent ahead of its sale to the Local World consortium.

Profits rose from £17m to £26m despite a 6 per cent fall in year-on-year revenue to £213m, according to results for the year ending 30 September.

Yesterday DMGT announced the sale of Northcliffe for £52.5m cash and a 38.7 per cent stake in Local World

The deal also saw regional publisher Iliffe News & Media sold to the new venture in return for a 21.3 per cent holding, while Trinity Mirror also acquired a 20 per cent stake in the company for £14.2m.

The surge in operating profits was down to a restructuring operation that saw year-on-year costs slashed by £33m (or 15 per cent), with 324 staff axed over the financial year (down 13 per cent).

Four of the group’s daily newspapers – including the Torquay Herald Express and the Exeter Express & Echo – were converted to weekly papers over the past year. 

DMGT said Northcliffe's titles “continued to be challenged by sluggish advertising markets and during the year”, with ad income down 8 per cent.

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Newspaper sales revenues fell by 5 per cent to £57m.

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