Express Newspapers reports £2.6m operating loss

Richard Desmond’s Express Newspapers made a £2.6m operating loss in 2008, newly filed accounts at Companies House have revealed.

The publisher of the Daily Star, Daily Express and their Sunday sister titles said a £17.1m increase in printing costs had adversely affected profitability.

The group agreed in March to buy out Telegraph Media Group’s 50 per cent stake in the joint venture West Ferry Printers.

Express Newspapers also pumped extra money into the West Ferry pension scheme and incurred charges relating to redundancy and restructuring.

The new Express accounts reveal a 91 per cent slump in pre-tax profit, down from £54.9m in 2007 to £4.8m in 2008.

The company said increased promotional costs, including cutting the price of the Daily Star to 20p, had contributed to the drop.

Money-off vouchers in the Daily and Sunday Express were said to have cost £6.5m in lost revenue, but the group said it would continue with the discounting to keep circulation up.

Group revenue was down eight per cent year on year to £257.7m. The number of staff employed by Express Newspapers was also marginally down, from 723 to 703.

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