Trinity revenues benefit from MEN deal

THE Manchester Evening News and its sister titles have contributed revenue of £18.2m and operating profits of £2.7m to their new parent Trinity Mirror.

The quoted newspaper group bought the MEN and 30 other titles belonging to GMG Regional Media in March for £7.4m and the cancellation of a £37.4m printing contract.

Half-year figures from Trinity, which also owns the Daily Mirror, the People, the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo and a string of 150 other smaller titles, show the deal also helped hold up group income which would have suffered a 5% drop without it.

“The acquisition of GMG Regional Media was a clear demonstration of our ability to lead consolidation in regional media in a way that adds substantial value for shareholders,” said chief executive Sly Bailey.

GMG has exceeded Trinity’s expectations and has made a significant impact on regional advertising revenues. Without the deal they were down 8% but with it Trinity recorded a 6% increase. Advertising revenues from the national titles rose 2.2%.
Overall group revenue was flat in the 26 weeks to July 4 at £382.2m, compared with £383m last year. During the period pre-tax profits jumped from £2.1m last year to £84.8m. Trinity also gave an adjusted profit figure, after stripping out non-recurring items, of £50.4m, up from £31.3m. The group cut debt by £15.6m to £308.4m.

Relentless cost-cutting, which has seen the group cut 20% of staff, shut 30 newspapers, close offices and a printing plant, has helped Trinity push margins up from 12.8% to 16.2%. It hit its £15m savings target and has increased its full-year figure by £5m to £25m.

Ms Bailey added: “The continued execution of our clear and consistent strategy has enabled the group to deliver a strong performance for the first half of the year with operating profit up 25.7% and earnings per share up 58.6%.

“This was achieved despite a fragile economy and volatile trading conditions. We have continued to invest in the business through the downturn in strengthening the portfolio and delivering IT led efficiencies, in addition to maintaining a keen focus on costs.”

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