The UK’s third biggest regional newspaper publisher Newsquest achieved profits before tax of £88.5m for 2009 on turnover down 25.4 per cent to £365.6m.
Although the EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) profit figure of £88.5m represents a 52 per cent fall year on year, Newsquest still managed to deliver an EBITDA profit margin of 24.2 per cent. This compares with an EBITDA profit margin of 37.6 per cent in 2008, accounts filed at Companies House reveal.
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Newsquest is a subsidiary of US publishing giant Gannett and trades in the UK as the limited company Gannett UK.
Operating profit for the company is reported to be £71.7m for 2009, compared with an operating loss of £462,000 in 2008.
The figures reveal that Newsquest cut more than 300 editorial jobs in 2009, reducing the number from 1,936 to 1,609.
And they also reveal that pay for the top earning director, who is not named but is understood to be chief executive Paul Davidson, has increased from £501,234 to £609,385. Payments to his pension scheme increased from £38,536 to £94,986.
Newsquest is currently in the midst of greatly reducing benefits paid out to many staff by ending final salary pension payouts for existing members of the scheme.
No-one from Newsquest was available for comment but the National Union of Journalists has urged Newsquest to use its profits to improve the lot of UK staff.
NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: ‘Newsquest shares very little financial information with its employees and with figures like these, we know why.
“This is still an extremely profitable company diverting its wealth from the UK and its staff into the pockets of US shareholders and the banks Gannett borrowed from to buy Newsquest in the same manner as the Glazers bought Manchester United.
“The UK arm cannot continue to be the poor relation either within the group or its industry peers in this country. Good, loyal staff will vote with their feet if the cuts don’t stop and better pay and conditions are put on the table immediately.”