Yorkshire Post publisher sees profits hit by falling advertising revenues

REGIONAL newspaper publisher Johnston Press saw its profits more than halve last year after advertising revenues dropped by 12.7%.

The Edinburgh-based owner of the Yorkshire Post, Sheffield Star, Halifax Courier and the Scotsman, saw pre-tax profits fall to £12.6m from £28.4m on revenues that were down to £328.7m from £373.8m in the 52 weeks to December 29.

The group said that the challenging trading environment seen in the second half of 2012 continued into the start of 2013 with total advertising revenues for the first 10 weeks of 2013 down 15.6% from last year.

However it said it had seen an improving trend of “reducing declines” across all its advertising categories except motor advertising, over the period.

It said it was managing costs in line with the shortfall. Net debt reduced to £319m from £351m. There is no dividend.
Chief executive, Ashley Highfield, said: “Good progress has been made in the process of transforming the group in 2012 and the changes made provide a strong platform for us to build on in 2013 as we invest in refreshing our print portfolio, and simultaneously move our operation to be real-time, digitally led, social, mobile and ever more local.”