Daily Mail & General Trust recorded an increase in like-for-like operating profit of 20 per cent in the six months to the start of April.
The company, which publishes the Daily Mail along with a string of regional newspapers, reported adjusted operating profit of £144m over the half-year. Adjusted revenue across the group fell by ten per cent year-on-year to £974m in the six months to 4 April.
Martin Morgan, chief executive of DMGT, said results had been ahead of the company’s expectations after business-to-business operations delivered ‘excellent growth”.
DMGT’s B2B companies increased their overall profit by 11 per cent, the company said. Revenues from the B2B group totalled £380m, a drop of 13 per cent year-on-year.
A ‘sharp improvement’in DMGT’s national and regional newspaper publishing business, A&N Media, saw adjusted operating profits rise by 127 per cent to £58m on total revenue of £594m, eight per cent lower than in the same period in the previous year.
This reflected action taken to reduce costs and to eliminate loss-making activities, Morgan said, in addition to an improved advertising market.
Headcount at A&N was down by 680 – or eight per cent – during the period, including the closure of from London daily London Lite in November, Teletext in December then a Plymouth printing plant in February.
As a consequence of the closures and reduction in headcount DMGT incurred an exceptional restructuring charge of £28m.
The company’s national newspaper business, Associated Newspapers, recorded a six per cent fall in revenue to £427m as operating profit rose 135 per cent to £42m.
Associated Northcliffe Digital, the company’s non-newspaper digital business, recorded a five per cent increase in revenue to £41m.
DMGT’s regional publishing business, Northcliffe Media, saw operating profit rise 121 per cent to £14m. Revenue fell nine per cent to £150m.
Morgan said: ‘Whilst we remain cautious about the outlook, particularly in the UK, we are increasingly well positioned to weather current economic uncertainties and to take advantage of improved conditions as they materialise.”
DMGT’s net debt reduced by £31 million over the period due to strong cash flow management and disposals, the company added.