Editorial cost-cutting has helped drive up profits at Trinity Mirror.
The company – the UK’s biggest newspaper publisher – reported that pre-tax profit overall after exceptional expenses increased to £60.6m for 2003 compared with £26.2m in 2002.
Turnover grew slightly from £1.09bn in 2002 to £1.1bn.
In July, chief executive Sly Bailey announced plans to shed 550 jobs as part of her strategic review of the company.
Since then, more than 70 jobs have gone at the Daily Mirror and regional cutbacks have included 16 journalists at the Birmingham Post and Mail and 21 at the Western Mail and Echo.
As usual, the regional newspaper division was the most lucrative part of the company, reporting operating profits of £123.9m on turnover of £525.2m.
This was up from £112.4m on turnover of £514.4m in 2002.
The national newspaper division increased operating profit to £85.8m compared with £77.6m in 2002 on turnover of £492.2m.
Trinity Mirror revealed that cost savings of £8.2m were found in the regionals division in 2003 and £5.7m was cut from the budget of the national newspapers.
So far the company has found 314 of Bailey’s job cuts and it has increased its savings target for 2004 from £16m to £18m.
By Dominic Ponsford