Express & Star owner reports £12.5m losses

The parent company behind the UK’s best-selling regional daily, Wolverhampton’s Express & Star, has reported losses of £12.5m.

The latest accounts for Claverley Group reveal after tax the company lost £12.5m in the year to 31 December 2011 compared with losses of £3.5m for the same period in 2010.

Operating profit at the company, which owns newspapers across the Midlands and Channel Islands, fell 34 per cent to £6.5m in the year to 31 December. Group turnover fell from £119m in 2010 to £114m in 2011.

Claverley is the parent company of Midlands News Association, publisher of the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

The company also the owns Guiton Group, publisher of the Jersey Evening Post and the Guernsey Press & Star, a commercial printing company and technology division.

A statement in the directors’ report said: “In the Channel Islands the newspapers publishing companies faced harsh trading conditions resulting in customers cutting their advertising spend.

It continued: “With the economic outlook for the year remaining flat at best with little indication of any sustained economic recovery in the short-term, the trading conditions remain challenging.”

The publishing business accounts for £101.6m of the company’s £114.3m turnover and suffered losses of £6.3m in 2011.

A total of 1,273 people are employed within the division, down from 1,349 in 2010. The company’s highest-paid director was paid £195,700.
Claverley declined to comment.

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