Richard Desmond's N&S to report £40m profit in 2011

Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell is set to report a 40 per cent rise in group turnover to £688m in the 2011 financial year and profits of £40m.

N&S said the figures were powered by the first full-year contribution from Channel 5 since its acquisition in July 2010, with revenues at the network up 23 per cent to £353m in the 12 months to 31 December.

When Desmond bought the broadcaster in 2010 it was running with an operating loss of £48.1m, but it is now set to report an operating profit of £26.1m in 2011.

N&S said the group revenue growth was achieved despite making a loss of £28.5m on The Health Lottery, and that the company ended the year with a cash balance of £61.3m.

The lottery operations reported a turnover of £10 million and the company described the £28.5 million pre-tax loss as a “start-up investment”.

N&S said it had ‘underlined its commitment to ongoing investment in its newspaper business’with the opening of a new printing facility in Luton last year, and said that newspaper trading ‘continued to be in line with expectations”.

But the company did not provide a breakdown of its newspaper operations and the accounts have not yet been filed at Companies House.

Earlier this year the company announced that around 70 journalism jobs are to go across its national titles as part of a £5m cost-cutting programme.

Finance director Robert Sanderson said: ‘Despite the difficult macro economic climate, the group has achieved significant growth over the last two years, both in its core media activities and out into other business areas. We remain intent on continuing to explore further opportunities.”

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