DMGT: Profit down 37 per cent at Northcliffe

Operating profit at regional newspaper publisher Northcliffe Media fell 37 per cent in the last financial year, according to figures released this morning.

Revenue at the company – part of the Daily Mail and General Trust Group (DMGT) – was down 10 per cent to £236m while headcount was cut by 19 per cent, resulting in 602 job losses.

Today’s figures for the year to 3 October show restructuring and ‘process innovation’at Northcliffe resulted in cost savings of £15m, but profit was down 37 per cent, or £10m, to £17m. This made for a 7 per cent profit margin, which was said to be in line with expectations.

Advertising revenue was down 10 per cent and circulation revenue dropped 6 per cent, or £4m, despite cover price increases.

Overall circulation on its weekly newspapers in the first six months of 2011 was down 4.7 per cent and dailies fell 8.2 per cent.

During the full financial year Northcliffe sold seven titles and closed a further seven free titles.

Commenting on its outlook for the future the company said: ‘The ambition for Northcliffe is to be operating a simplified portfolio of titles with a customer-focused structure and a modern culture.”

It added: “Northcliffe is going through a substantial change programme and will benefit from significant savings made in the previous six months.

“Advertising revenues have continued to track the year-on-year trends experienced in 2010/11 with a decline of 7 per cent on a like-for-like basis on last year in the first seven weeks of the new financial year (10 per cent on a reported basis).

“The first quarter and outlook for the year as a whole are not expected to improve on this trend. Cost reduction initiatives will continue and margins are expected to be stable.

“Northcliffe is now focused on building new revenue opportunities from its print and digital products.”

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