Interim Results for the twenty six weeks ended 30th June 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 07:00

Johnston Press plc, one of the leading community media groups in the UK and Ireland, announces interim results for the 26 weeks ended 30 June 2012.

Key Financials (Unaudited) 2012
26 weeks
£'m
2011
26 weeks
£'m
Change
%
Revenue before non-recurring items 176.1 191.8 (8.2)%
Operating profit before non-recurring items 30.4 33.3 (8.7)%
       
Operating profit 37.8 32.6 16.0%
Finance costs (21.2) (18.9) (12.2)%
Profit before tax 13.6 13.8 (1.4)%
       
Underlying earnings per share (1) 2.1p 1.8p  
Basic earnings per share 2.3p 3.0p  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)before non-recurring and IAS 21/39 items

Key Highlights:

The first half of 2012 was a period of tremendous activity for Johnston Press making good progress against all of the key elements of its new strategy.  Against a difficult trading environment in the period, the Group achieved an operating profit (before non-recurring items) of £30.4m and an operating margin of 17.3% (2011: £33.3m and 17.4% respectively) on revenues of £176.1m .  Progress on key elements of the strategy included:

  • Achieving cost leadership and stabilisation of the core print business
    • Reduced costs by £12.8m (8.1%)1 compared with the first half of 2011
    • Savings have been achieved across the business and include a consolidation of printing activities and a simplification of the management structure
    • Group remains confident of achieving its full year cost savings target of £25.0m
       
  • Re-launching all titles in 2012
    • Re-launched the first 23 of our titles in the first half
    • Successful implementation of first phase and encouraging results achieved
    • On track for rolling out the remainder of our close to 250 titles by the end of 2012
       
  • Accelerating existing digital strategies
    • Digital local display and property revenues have grown period-on-period by 43.8% and 25.2% albeit from a low base
    • Increase in audiences, particularly to mobile platforms, with monthly visitors up 100% since December 2011
    • Overall digital revenue grew to £10.3m but this growth was constrained by the  knock on effect of subdued print employment activity on the digital recruitment product revenue
       
  • Creating new verticals
    • New verticals around entertainment listings and services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) now under development with pilots expected later this year
    • Integrated employment offering across print and digital with more value added services to be introduced in the second half

The application of its substantial operational cash flow to reducing its borrowings remains a key priority for the Group.  The net debt at 30 June 2012 of £361.7m included the impact of one-off cash costs in the period relating to refinancing fees (£11.4m) and restructurings (£7.8m).  If it were not for these items, the Group’s operating cash flow would have reduced net debt to below the £351.7m at the start of the year.  In addition, since the half year, the previously announced receipt of £30m from News International has reduced net debt still further.  At 31 July, the Group’s net debt was £332.1m.

The Board has confidence that, in the absence of a further deterioration in the UK economy, the outcome for the Group in 2012 will be in line with current expectations.

Commenting on these results, Ashley Highfield, Chief Executive Officer of Johnston Press plc said:

“The first half has been a period of tremendous activity and we have made significant progress.  Johnston Press is going through a strategic transformation.  As we continue to develop our digital portfolio, refresh our print offering, reduce costs, and use our substantial operating cash flow to bring down our debt, we are increasingly confident about the success of the strategy and the benefits that it will deliver.”

For further information please contact:

Ashley Highfield, CEO)  020 7466 5000 (today), or
Grant Murray CFO)  0131 225 3361 (thereafter)

Buchanan  020 7 466 5000
Richard Oldworth/ Louise Hadcocks

Forward-looking Statements

This interim report contains forward-looking statements.  Although the Group believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct.  Due to the inherent uncertainties, including both economic and business risk factors underlying such forward-looking information, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

The Group undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.