Johnston Press plc, one of the leading multi-platform community media groups in the UK and Ireland, announces results for the 52 weeks ended 31 December 2011.
|Profit/(Loss) before tax||28.4||30.5||(6.9)%||(143.8)||16.5|
|Earnings per share||pence||pence||pence||pence|
* before non-recurring and IAS21/39 items
- In a challenging trading environment, the Group has maintained market leading operating margins in 2011 and cash generation from operations has remained strong. The underlying operating profit fell by 10.3% to £64.6m, the underlying operating margin for the year was 17.3% (2011:18.1%) and total cash generated by operations amounted to £71.2m supporting a 9.1% reduction in net debt.
- The Group’s loss before tax for the year was £143.8 million, primarily due to the impairment of the value of publishing titles of £163.7m, compared with the charge of £13.1m in 2010.
- Total advertising revenues decreased by 9.0% year on year with employment revenues continuing to contribute most to the decline. The rate of decline slowed from 10.1% in the first half to 7.7% in the second half.
- Digital advertising revenues grew by 0.7%. This reflected an improving trend from -5.0% in the first six months to +8.6% in the second half, with the successful launch of Find it, our online business listing directory and DealMonster, our local voucher website.
- Newspaper sales remained resilient with revenues down only 1.1% versus 2010.
- Total operating costs (before non-recurring and IAS 21/39 items) reduced by £16.9m despite newsprint price increases of £7.6m.
- Operating profit before non-recurring and IAS 21/39 items of £64.6m reflected the significant cost savings above.
- The results include a charge of £163.7m in respect of the write down of intangible assets, which mainly reflects a change in the discount rate used within the impairment calculation rather than a change in the underlying performance of these assets.
Continued debt reduction
- The strong cash flow allowed the business to reduce borrowings by a further £35.0m during 2011.
- It remains the Board’s priority to continue to reduce the level of borrowings.
- The terms of a new three year £393.0m secured facility announced today have been agreed by way of amending and extending the current facility agreement with a revised expiry date of 30 September 2015.
Summary and outlook
Challenging trading conditions in the first 15 weeks of 2012 have seen total advertising revenues fall by 10.6% versus last year with national advertising being particularly depressed across the industry. We are mitigating the shortfall in advertising revenues through tight operational control and cost management across the Group. In addition, the Group is continuing to develop its other revenue streams.
Commenting on the outlook, the Chief Executive, Ashley Highfield, said:
“Although the prospects for the economy remain downbeat in the short term, I believe we can return Johnston Press to being a growth business through the twin track approach of re-launching and revitalising our papers while simultaneously growing our websites, and taking full advantage of the opportunities created by technology and the changing media demands of our users to deliver innovative propositions.”
For further information please contact:
Ashley Highfield, Chief Executive Officer
Grant Murray, Chief Financial Officer
020 7466 5000 (today) or 0131 220 9610 (thereafter)
Richard Oldworth/Louise Hadcocks
020 7466 5000