Johnston Press plc today publishes its Interim Management Statement which has been drawn up for the 18 weeks to 7 May 2011, this being the last practicable date, as required by the UK Listing Authority's Disclosure and Transparency Rules.
Total advertising revenues (print and digital) for the 18 weeks to 7 May 2011 were down 10.6%. Within this overall figure, we have seen performance in Q1 of -11.6% year‑on‑year with the first 5 weeks of Q2 showing a slower rate of decline of -7.8%.
The weakest performing category in Q1 was employment (down 30.7% on 2010) with public sector cutbacks having a significant effect. In 2010, public sector spending was most buoyant in Q1 and declined considerably between then and the end of Q3. Therefore the impact from decreases in public sector activity is expected to reduce throughout the year.
Display advertising, our largest category, continues to perform better with year‑on‑year declines in Q1 of -7.9% improving to +5.5% in the second quarter to date, the start of Q2 benefiting partly by the move of Easter from March to April.
Given the high proportion of employment advertising within the Group's digital offering, internet revenues have been impacted by the tough employment conditions and the lower levels of sell on from the printed product. However, we are encouraged by the successful launch of a new online Business Directory and Customer Review offering, "Find it", at the start of March.
As explained in our 2010 annual results announcement, newsprint prices in 2011 are significantly higher than last year. Nonetheless we anticipate mitigating this increase and other inflationary pressures through continued cost management as well as generating incremental year‑on‑year savings in the region of £5m.
Net debt was £388.7m at the end of April 2011. We have brought forward the £20m reduction of our facilities scheduled for June 2012 to 28 April 2011 and this should save the Group around £0.5m in interest costs this year.
Despite the Q1 advertising performance, we expect the full year results to be in line with current market expectations.
For further information please contact:
John Fry, Chief Executive Officer or
Grant Murray, Chief Financial Officer
020 7466 5000 (today) or
0131 225 3361 (thereafter)
Richard Oldworth /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.