In a continuation of the practice adopted last year to improve the flow of information to all investors, Johnston Press plc issues the following trading update, ahead of the Group’s interim results announcement on 29 August 2001, for the 26 weeks to 30 June 2001. Trading for the first 5 months of this year has been better than expected. Like-for-like advertising revenues were 3% ahead of the comparable period in 2000 with the rate of growth dipping in April but recovering to 4% in May. This compares with growth of almost 6% in the second half of 2000 and situations vacant advertising was again the principal driver. Overall circulation of the Group’s weekly titles is marginally ahead whilst the evening titles are showing a small decline. The Group’s new media strategy is progressing satisfactorily with significant revenue growth over the comparable period in 2000. The development of our south coast printing operations and the associated closure of Southern Web is progressing as planned. The exceptional costs of approximately £5 million relating to the closure will be included in the first half results. Despite the prevailing mood of economic uncertainty which must give rise to a degree of caution, the board expects continued modest revenue growth. Proactive cost control will help to offset the increased cost of newsprint as detailed in the Group’s statements earlier this year. The board remains positive about prospects for the remainder of 2001 and is confident of delivering a satisfactory result for the year as a whole.
Tim Bowdler, Chief Executive
or Marco Chiappelli, Finance Director
Johnston Press plc
Tel: 0131 225 3361
or: Richard Oldworth / Richard Darby
Tel: 020 7466 5000