Archant profits slump by a third in 2009

Regional media publisher Archant recorded a year-on-year fall in operating profit of almost a third last year, the company had said.

In a preliminary statement to shareholders ahead of its AGM in April, Archant reported that operating profit fell 32 per cent to £15.1m last year from the £22.2m it made in 2008.

The company, which publishes newspapers including the Eastern Daily Press and the East Anglian Daily Times, said it also recorded a 19 per cent fall in revenue to £142m last year, down from the £175.1m it generated in 2008.

Archant said the falls came against a background of “challenging economic conditions and advertising revenues declining in all major categories”.

Chairman Richard Jewson said a new management team at the company had taken “swift and decisive steps to reduce the cost base and launching a number of new business initiatives”.

The company completed the refinancing of its bank facilities in December, saying the board was confident this would provide sufficient working capital to pursue its current strategies.

Total operating costs were reduced by £26.1m, a saving of 17.1 per cent, the company said.

The reduced cost base led to operating profit doubling in the second half of the year compared to the first half, Archant said.

The increase also reflected signs of some improvement in trading conditions, the company added, and revenue was up 11 per cent against the second half of 2008.

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