Johnston Press plc today publishes its Interim Management Statement which has been drawn up for the 44 weeks to 5 November 2011, this being the last practicable date, as required by the UK Listing Authority's Disclosure and Transparency Rules.
Total print and digital advertising revenues in the second half of the year to date (18 weeks) declined by 8.0% year-on-year, compared with the first half year-on-year decline of 10.0%. Circulation revenues declined by 1.6% in this period, an improvement on the 1.8% decline in the first half of the year.
Display advertising, the Group's largest revenue category, continues to perform relatively well in a difficult UK advertising market, with year‑on‑year declines of -3.4% in the 18 weeks, in line with the declines seen in the first half of the year. This category is being driven by local display revenues, as local retailers prioritise advertising to encourage consumer spending.
Employment revenue declines have reduced from -30.4% in the first half of 2011 to -19.2% in the second half to date. This reflects the relative stabilisation of revenues between the first and second half to date with comparables becoming easier during the second half.
Digital revenues have increased in the 18 week period by 4.4%, continuing the growth seen since May. The Business Directory offering "Find it" and increased display advertising following the redesign of our websites is driving the improved revenues. However, digital employment revenues continue to be affected by the reduction in employment revenues within our print products and the impact of this on the digital upsell. "DealMonster", our daily local voucher offering was launched in three markets in September, and progress is encouraging.
We continue to implement cost savings plans, with full year like-for-like cost savings projected to be in excess of £20.0m.
Net debt was £357.0m at 5 November having reduced from £386.7m at the start of the year. The Group has commenced discussions with its lenders in relation to a refinancing of its borrowing in Q1 2012.
With the continued cost savings and the improved advertising declines, we expect full year results for 2011 to be in line with current market expectations.
For further information please contact:
Ashley Highfield, Chief Executive Officer or Grant Murray, Chief Financial Officer
020 7466 5000 (today) or 0131 225 3361 (thereafter)
Richard Oldworth / Suzanne Brocks / Christian Goodbody
020 7466 5000
The Interim Management Statement may contain forward looking statements, which have been made by the Directors in good faith based on the information available to them at the time of their approval of the Statement, and should be treated with caution due to inherent uncertainties, which are beyond Johnston Press' ability to control or estimate precisely and include both economic and business risk factors, underlying such forward looking information.