Irish Mail is still leaning on parent

The Irish editions of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday have made a profit for the first time, but publisher Associated Newspapers is still nursing total losses of more than £50m from its costly expansion into Ireland seven years ago.

Accounts at the Companies Office in Dublin have revealed that Associated Newspapers (Ireland) made a £600,000 profit in the year ending 30 September 2007, compared with a £6.16m loss in the previous year.

Despite the improvement in its fortunes, the company said it was still ‘conscious of the need for continued financial support’from London-based parent company Daily Mail and General Trust in order to ‘continue as a going concern”.

Associated Newspapers’ foray into the Irish newspaper market began in 2001 with the purchase of Ireland on Sunday. Since then, its Irish expansion plans have lost the company a total of £53.2m.

The publisher launched an Irish edition of the Daily Mail in 2006, and later that year changed the name of Ireland on Sunday to the Irish Mail on Sunday.

Associated Newspapers (Ireland) also has a 45 per cent stake in Fortune Green, publisher of the Irish edition of morning free newspaper Metro.

Turnover for the year ending 30 September 2007 was £14.63m – up 13 per cent from £12.95m in the previous year. In this period increased from £4.12m to £5.2m, with staff headcount rising from 71 to 82.

According to the May national newspaper figures from ABC, the Daily Mail’s circulation in the Republic of Ireland has fallen 4.8 per cent in the past year, down from 60,928 to 57,971. In the same period, the Irish Mail on Sunday’s circulation grew by 4.3 per cent, from 113,083 to 117,892.

‘We’ve launched three newspapers and would expect to lose some money. So its good news that the company has has now moved into profit,’said Peter Williams, finance director, Daily Mail and General Trust.

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