Archant is today celebrating its best financial performance since 2007.
In 2015, Archant’s operating profits increased by 20% from £8.0m to £9.6m and it remains on the journey to be the best local media business in the UK by the end of 2017. Cash generation is still strong, with Archant closing the year with net cash balances of £12.7m. Revenue performance, although down slightly at 1.9% in the year, is Archant’s best relative performance since 2007, despite difficult industry conditions. This also translated into improved profitability which was ahead of last year.
The executive team is now complete following Craig Nayman’s appointment as Chief Commercial Officer in April 2015, and the appointment of Matt Kelly, Archant’s first Chief Content Officer in November. 2015 has also seen positive developments with magazine circulations increasing in more than half of titles and newspaper circulation revenues showing small year on year growth, with price rises offsetting circulation volume declines.
The quality of the editorial content has received industry wide recognition, including the Eastern Daily Press beating the Guardian and The Times to the Grand Prix award at the 2015 NewsAwards - a remarkable achievement for all involved.
The Company introduced an internationally recognised method of measuring customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score, in 2015. From a neutral level at the start of the year, customer satisfaction has improved significantly. In the recent staff satisfaction survey, 70% said they would recommend Archant as a place to work to friends and family, up from 47% in 2012. This puts us in the top quartile of more than 1,600 companies surveyed
In January 2016 Archant re-launched the “Archant Awards” recognising the great efforts and achievements of its staff during 2015. Over 500 entries were received for the awards showing the pride and effort of the staff. The Company has taken a number of steps to reduce the pension risk during the year, working with specialists Lane, Clark and Peacock and on 1st March 2016 we began a consultation with the remaining seven per cent of our staff in the final salary scheme
With regards to outstanding tax, Archant continues to take a proactive approach with HMRC and has accelerated activity over the last few months in trying to move towards a mutually agreeable settlement position. 2015 has also seen a number of major developments across the Archant property estate, with the London newspaper team moving from Ilford to a new leasehold office in Barking. The office in Ipswich was sold, with the business now developing a prestigious building in replacement – Portman House, showing its commitment to the Ipswich community.
Recognising the improved financial results, cash position and 2016 prospects, the Board is of the view that it is appropriate to propose a return to dividend payments, with a 2015 Final Dividend proposed of five pence per share. This is the first time Archant has proposed a dividend since October 2012.
© Archant Ltd 2013