Archant regional newspapers profit dip

Archant is the latest regional newspaper publisher to report profits hit by the advertising sector downturn.

In an interim financial report to shareholders, Archant reported overall revenue down 2.8 per cent year-on-year to £96.4 million.

Operating profit for the six months to the end of June was down 15.4 per cent to £14.4 million.

Revenue for Archant’s newspaper and printing businesses was down 7.5 per cent to £72.4 million.

Archant produces four daily regional newspapers and more than 85 weekly titles with a combined circulation of three million copies a week.

Revenue for the company’s magazine division increased by 14.4 per cent to £24.1 million and operating profit increased 72.1 per cent to £2.3 million.

The profit dip for Archant's regionals follows similar figures in recent weeks from other regional newspaper publishers such as Trinity Mirror and Guardian Media Group.

Archant chairman Richard Jewson said: "Both cyclical economic forces and fundamental structural changes in our markets are clearly influencing performance but the evidence suggests that much of the present downturn is cyclical.

"We have appointed a development director with specific responsibilities for digital activity to implement a wide-ranging upgrade both to our classified websites and to the business model behind them.

"We do not expect any immediate improvement in advertising revenues although there is cautious optimism amongst some commentators that the economy will improve towards the end of 2006. We remain confident that the strength of our titles, the skills and commitment of our staff, and the actions that we are taking will enable us to re-establish the Group's growth as conditions improve."

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