Johnston Press said today that the relaunch of 54 paid-for titles has slowed the year-on-year rate of circulation revenue decline to 0.5 per cent.
And issuing a trading update for the first 18 weeks of 2012, it said that it expected to return to circulation revenue growth in the last quarter of this year for the first time since 2008.
Overall revenues are said to be down 11.4 per cent year on year for the period, with advertising revenues down 14 per cent year on year. Digital revenues were said to be up 2.9 per cent.
Net debt has fallen from £351.7m at the start of the year to £336m as of the end of October. This was on top of £11.7m in debt refinancing costs and £13.8m in restructuring costs, the company said.
Chief executive Ashley Highfield said: “The second half of 2012 has seen acceleration in the implementation of the strategy for the business. While market conditions have been even tougher than expected, we have made good progress in restructuring our operations, reducing the cost base, maintaining focus on debt reduction and continuing to invest in growth areas.
“We have moved forward with the re-launch of our titles with encouraging early signs, and our digital business has seen a huge increase in audience this year, as well as the launch of services across iPad, mobile and PC, which will provide a spring-board to future digital revenue growth. As a result, the business is moving onto a more stable footing as we go into 2013 when the full benefits of the changes will be seen.”