Despite deteriorating trading conditions in the regional newspaper sector Archant has announced like-for-like revenue figures for the first half of 2008 only 3.3% down on the same period last year and like-for-like operating profits 8.9% down.
At the same time the company has revealed that digital advertising revenues have increased by 63%.
Total turnover for the period was £93.6m (2007 - £98.5m). Total operating profit before amortisation of intangible assets and exceptional items was £13.1m (2007 - £14.5m). Like-for-like figures exclude the impact of acquisitions and the disposal of titles in Scotland during 2007.
Archant chairman, Richard Jewson (pictured above), said: “Significant progress with the digital classified sites continues. Despite difficulties in the property markets, homes24 saw unique visitors increase by 117% in the first half and the number of properties on the site increasing to in excess of 100,000. jobs24 and drive24 continue to grow significantly as functionality improves and with increased marketing activity.”
Total magazine turnover increased by 4.1% to £27.8m (2007: £26.7m) and operating profit remained stable at £2.6m.
Despite these relatively positive results Richard Jewson remains cautious – “We have entered a period of significant difficulty for the regional press, evidenced by share price movements of quoted peer companies, with both cyclical downturn and structural changes impacting the sector. The depth and duration of the downturn is as yet unclear and we expect the difficult trading conditions to continue for at least the next year.
“Our capable management team will actively seek efficiencies and cost reductions to mitigate the impact of the economic downturn and focus efforts on developing our on-line businesses. The company has a strong balance sheet, market leading brands and is well positioned to weather the economic storm.”
© Archant Ltd 2013