Archant has today reported a strong start to the year and modest revenue growth in a letter to shareholders from chairman Simon Bax.
Reporting on the first six months’ performance, Simon said that profits are ahead of budget and the previous year, despite a difficult industry background, with modest like-for-like revenue growth.
Simon said: “Our plans to make the core of the business robust are progressing well. Our half-year financial performance gives us every reason to be positive for the second half of the year, however, the general environment for local media companies remains challenging.”
He went on to say: “The One Archant strategy is bearing fruit. The core of the business is performing well, there are fewer barriers to change, and clarity in reporting lines means that there is less duplication. With greater ability to implement Archant-wide initiatives and thus maximise the value of our total portfolio, the company is seeing significant benefits in both co-operation and morale.”
Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Henry, said: “We have had a good first six months of the year against challenging conditions. Congratulations should go to all of our colleagues for a great team effort in out-performing our industry peers and setting the company firmly in the right direction.”
Advertising revenues in the first half, though marginally down on last year – less than 1% in newspapers and 3% in magazines – are ahead of industry trends.
Cash generation has continued strongly, with £4m generated in the period and cash on hand of £6.8m at the end of June. In July a new four-year bank refinancing was completed on markedly improved terms than previously.
Circulation revenue has grown in the first half in newspapers, partly because price increases on the daily titles have more than offset circulation declines, and in magazines where circulation revenues have improved, particularly after increasing the availability of a number of key titles. Digital revenues also grew in the first half of the year.
Activity during the six months included: the sale of three magazines where Archant did not believe it could attain market leadership - English Home, English Garden and Discover Britain; an investment in WiSpire, a rural broadband service in Norfolk; and progress in plans to sell offices which are no longer suitable for purpose in Ipswich and Ilford with staff moving to more appropriate rented properties.
Pictured above is Archant chairman Simon Bax.
© Archant Ltd 2013