Evening Standard moves into profit and Independent cuts its losses

The Evening Standard has reported its first annual profit for many years, recording an operating surplus of £82,000 in the 12 months to September 2012.

The news comes in the title’s third full-year as a free title (it went free in October 2009). Alexander Lebedev bought 75 per cent of the Evening Standard from Daily Mail and General Trust for a nominal figure in January 2009 at a time when it was still heavily loss-making (and had been for some years).

The Companies House figures show that the Evening Standard made a loss of £7.5m in the year to September 2011.

Separate Companies House figures show that Independent Print Ltd – which publishes The Independent, Independent on Sunday and I – made a £16.6m operating loss in the year to September 2012 compared with £22.3m in the previous year.

The Evening Standard now has an average daily free circulation of 700,000 (compared with a combined free and paid-for circulation of 236,000 before it went free).

According to the National Readership Survey it now has an average daily readership of 1.6m.

The Standard and the Independent titles are now owned by Alexander Lebedev’s son Evgeny.

After winning the franchise to launch a local TV station for London, the plan is to merge the group’s 300 journalists into one integrated print, online and broadcast newsroom providing content for the Standard and Independent as well as the London Live TV station, which is dued to launch in spring 2014.

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