Tough advertising market reduces Johnston's profits

The UK’s second biggest regional newspaper publisher, Johnston Press, has reported profits hit by the difficult advertising market.

But it still reported that its established network of regional newspapers was delivering £35 profit for every £100 earned.

Profit before tax dropped 2.9 per cent to £79.8 million, on turnover up 18 per cent to £312.2 million.

In January, Johnston spent £150 million buying Scotsman Publications. It reported that its established titles returned a profit margin of 35 per cent, and the new titles had a profit margin of 23.9 per cent.

A year ago, Johnston’s half-year pretax profits were up 9.3 per cent year on year.

Chief executive Tim Bowdler said: “The second half has started as the first half finished, with no discernible improvement in advertising revenues.

Our assessment of the underlying market conditions does not suggest any early recovery in revenue performance.

“The group continues to maintain a tight control of costs, and will benefit from the first full-year contributions from the acquisitions made over the past 12 months.

“With the steps we have taken in managing our cost structure and the clear strategy in serving local communities, we consider the group to be well positioned for any recovery in the advertising cycle.”

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